The Oklahoma City Thunder are down 3-2 heading back to Memphis for Game 6 on Thursday night, which is causing a bit of panic and giving some people reason to jump all over what the Thunder have been in this series. The Memphis Grizzlies have made their opponents uncomfortable with a smothering defense that has turned Thunder star Kevin Durant from the heavy favorite for MVP in the regular season to a "struggling" scorer against Tony Allen and the rest of the Grizzlies' defense.
Thursday's edition of The Oklahoman has a big spread inside it in which they've deemed Durant to be "Mr. Unreliable."
Durant has been the main cog in the Thunder's offensive attack in this series, like he has been in almost every game for this franchise in the past seven seasons. He's averaging 28.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.8 blocks, and 4.0 turnovers in the five games against the Grizzlies. Allen has helped force him into shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from the 3-point line.
The Thunder star also missed a key free throw in Game 5 that would have tied the game in overtime after Joey Crawford interrupted his free throw routine to yell at the scoreboard operator.
While Durant has been more human than we're used to seeing him, to call him unreliable seems to be a very hot sports take.
UPDATE: Mike Sherman of The Oklahoman issued an apology on the headline used in the newspaper:
We take great pride in our headlines about big sporting events and news in Oklahoma. Thursday's headline in The Oklahoman on Kevin Durant's performance in the Memphis series missed the mark.
The words were overstated and unduly harsh. The headline and presentation left the impression that we were commenting on Durant's season, career or even character. We were not. We were referring only to the Memphis series.
The fact the headline and presentation left that impression with so many readers is proof that we failed.
That's a great apology and all, but even the apology misses the mark when clarifying it's simply referring to this Memphis series. Unreliable may not mean what he thinks it means.