Durant will take it easy tonight

10/15/13 in NBA   |   andrewgilman   |   20 respect

OKLAHOMA CITY – Don't expect too much out of Kevin Durant tonight.
 
Too many minutes, too much stress, too much of about anything as the Oklahoma City Thunder play their first home exhibition game of the season. 
 
May 15, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) comes off the court after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Thunder 88-84. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsInstead of Durant, the Thunder are in the midst of trying to figure out what to do without Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is going to be out for about the first month of the season – maybe longer – as he heals from knee surgery that knocked him out of all but two of the Thunder's playoff games last season.
 
So, with that in mind, Oklahoma City and coach Scott Brooks need to figure out how to keep Durant's minutes down and the pressure light this season.
 
"There are some lineups we need to explore," Brooks said. "I can't play 16 guys. We all know what Kevin Durant does and Nick (Collison) and Serge (Ibaka) and you still have to figure out ways to play guys."
 
The Thunder takes on Denver and one of the positions to watch, in addition to the Westbrook issue at point guard, is the center spot.
 
Kendrick Perkins will not play Tuesday as he recovers from a dislocated finger. That left Hasheem Thabeet with the start and lots of opportunity for rookie Steven Adams to get acclimated.
 
"There's a spot or two that we're going to continue to look at," Brooks said. "We have a few guys who are fighting their best to make it, but I have to factor in what's best for our team."
 
Adams isn't going anywhere and Thabeet is clearly the back-up for now, but a guy like guard-forward Ryan Gomes could be out of luck if he doesn't impress early.
 
"Whenever the opportunity presents itself, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, whatever. I think I'll be ready," Gomes said.
 
Brooks said Durant would only play about 25 minutes.
 
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