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Dwyane Wade: Playing in Oklahoma 'dims light' for Kevin Durant

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
Dwyane Wade sees Oklahoma holding back Kevin Durant. (Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Nobody shined brighter than Kevin Durant in Game 1 of the NBA Finals but don't tell Dwyane Wade that.

Oklahoma City's All-Star forward scored a game-high 36 points to push the Thunder to a 105-94 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. Durant out-dueled the NBA's MVP, LeBron James, down the stretch, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to give the Thunder a 1-0 series lead. It was yet another magical performance from Durant, who has led the Thunder throughout the 2012 playoffs, hitting multiple game-winning shots along the way.

Despite those on-court exploits in front of record television audience, Wade said that geography plays a role in preventing Durant from maximizing his starpower.

"Sometimes it's where you're at," Wade said at practice on Wednesday. "If he was in Los Angeles, Chicago, somewhere, it would be a little different. Being in Oklahoma kind of dims his light a little bit, not him on the basketball court but him off the court."

Oklahoma City is one of the NBA's smallest media markets -- ranking 28th or 29th, depending on the study -- alongside the likes of Memphis and New Orleans. The Thunder are Oklahoma's only professional sports franchise and are in just their fourth season in the city, after relocating from Seattle in 2008.

"There's not a lot of exciting things going on out here," Wade said Wednesday.

At shootaround on Thursday, Wade said that he had watched a movie and a documentary on the 1992 U.S. Men's National Team the previous evening.

"Just resting man," he said of his evening. "Trying to think [about] the game but also take time away from the game as well. Pretty boring."

Durant holds multiple national endorsement deals, including a signature shoe contract with Nike. He also recently starred in a motion picture called "Thunderstruck."

Speaking before Game 1 on Tuesday, NBA commissioner David Stern said that he thinks "fondly" of Oklahoma City and that the city's growth and embrace of the Thunder has been exciting.

"It's interesting to see the way the state of Oklahoma has taken to these Oklahoma City Thunder," he said. "It's very rewarding that the NBA could play a part in the growth and literally the excitement in this city that has suffered so much."

Stern continued: "Oklahoma City has not disappointed the NBA, the people of Oklahoma or all of our owners and fans around the world."

Miami, of course, is arguably the NBA's most enticing destination due to its weather, proximity to the beach, off-court scene and friendly tax environment. In terms of market size, it ranks near the middle of the NBA's pack.
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