TULSA, Okla. -- You can tell Kevin Durant is already getting tired of the questions.
No, not those questions.
The ones about how he feels. If he's rusty. If he's back. When he thinks he'll be back.
"I told myself I'm not going to answer that question no more," Durant said after being asked how he felt after the Thunder's 100-88 preseason win over a patchwork Mavericks team.
With two weeks of training camp down and three preseason games in the books, Durant is trying to put the trials of a surgery-filled 2014-15 season behind him. In the first two exhibition games, he looked every bit the player he once was, showcasing his trademark explosiveness, silky smooth touch and endless range.
But against the Mavs on Tuesday, he started just 1-for-9 from the floor and turned the ball over five times. He was sloppy. He missed open shots. He was off.
"It was still frustrating, because I want 'em to go in, I want every shot to go in," Durant said. "I got great looks though, man. I was 4-for-12, but I could've easily been 10-of-12. A few shots I just missed, but other than that a few went in and out -- yeah, I could've easily been 10-of-12. I'm still pissed off I missed them, but it's part of the game and I can't harp on it too long. Just got to get rid of it and keep getting better."
Durant logged 20 minutes and ended with a flurry, hitting his final three shots on hard drives to the bucket, which included capping it off with a tough and-1 through contact to finish with 10 points. Naturally, because of last season's injuries, there's a curiosity about where Durant is, whether he is holding back, whether he has returned to form.
During last week's preseason win over Fenerbahce, Durant had a breakaway dunk, and the Oklahoma City crowd began to buzz as he neared the 3-point line. Durant went with a very vanilla finish, almost delicately placing it in the rim. Did he hold back?
“That’s how I usually do it. I’m not a huge fast-break dunker. That’s what I usually do," he said. "You guys are making me feel like, ‘Damn, I’m not supposed to have bad days or regular dunks.’ S---, I was doing this before I was hurt. I felt the same, man. You won’t see a windmill or 360 from me. I’m kind of basic.”
But like the free-agency questions that will dog him all season, the questions about his health will likewise persist. Durant is fine, he really is. Not every bad shooting night or ugly turnover is a sign of rust. It's a sign that it's October. For Durant, he's trying to round out the finer points, the little things that every player deals with coming into training camp. He noted how he spent all summer working by himself, so he's readjusting to making tough shots again. He talked about how he's trying to settle back into his normal routine, particularly on game days, mentally prepping for the night ahead.
How he feels, though?
"I feel great out on the court," he said. "I don't feel tired, I don't feel weak."
So that's that. Don't ask him again.