Don’t put Thunder duo on a pedestal just yet


Kevin Durant smiled as the question was being posed. He listened to the names being tossed out about the dynamic duos the Lakers have had.

He paused and shook his head, quickly saying it was way too early to even mention Durant and Russell Westbrook in the same breath as some famous Lakers’ twosomes: Jerry West and Elgin Baylor; Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Durant, 21, is in his third season. Westbrook, 21, is in his second. The two are rapidly developing into a duo that has to be recognized.

The Lakers have seen firsthand in the Western Conference first-round playoff series how good Durant and Westbrook can be.

“Naw, don’t put us up there with those guys,” Durant said. “We’re doing all right. We’re doing OK. But those guys are legends, champions. So, you can’t put us up there with them.

“It’s cool for you to say that. But at the same time, we’re not nowhere near that level.”

Entering Game 5 Tuesday night at Staples Center, Westbrook had become a thorn the Lakers were unable to contain, averaging 21.8 points per game on 55.2% shooting, 5.3 assists and 6.5 rebounds as the point guard. Durant was averaging 26.8 points on 38.4% shooting, 9.3 rebounds and 1.75 blocked shots.

Game 5 didn’t turn out so well for the pair, as the Thunder lost to the Lakers, 111-87. night at Staples Center.

Westbrook, defended by Kobe Bryant, had 15 points on four-for-13 shooting, five rebounds and six assists. Durant, still being hounded by Ron Artest, had 17 points on five-for-14 shooting.

“I think Kevin and I and the rest of my teammates continue to work and continue to get better each and every year,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook, who attended Lawndale Leuzinger High before he went to UCLA, recalled the days when Bryant and O’Neal were called the best duo in the NBA.

“That was one of the best duos out there,” Westbrook said, “along with [San Antonio’s] Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

“It’s nothing too much looking forward to [us]. It’s just continuing to get better. As the team gets better, then everybody individually gets better.”

For Westbrook and Durant, it’s all about team.

Neither wanted to say it was about them — even if it has been in this series and all season for the Thunder.

“Quite frankly, we don’t really consider ourselves as a duo,” Durant said.

“It’s a whole team. But for you to say that, it’s pretty cool.”

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