Thunder guard Kevin Durant has mostly stayed mum about the Lakers acquiring… (Paul Buck / EPA / May 19, 2012…)
Should Kevin Durant or James Harden show up at your cocktail party, bringing up Dwight Howard's name isn't exactly the best icebreaker.
NBC's Jimmy Fallon found that out the awkward way when the two Oklahoma City Thunder stars appeared on his show Monday night.
"What do you think of Dwight Howard going to the Lakers?," Fallon asked Durant and Harden in a giddy and excited tone many would hear from Lakers fans.
Durant shrugged his shoulders. Harden turned and slightly laughed. Awkward silence ensued. Crickets chirped.
"So you don't care?" Fallon asked, incredulously. "Come on! That's major. The Lakers are getting a crazy team."
"Good for them," Harden simply said.
Fresh from a gold-medal finish in the 2012 London Games, Durant and Harden likely received jeers from Kobe Bryant about the deal. They certainly fielded endless questions about it from reporters. Durant and Harden were adamant that they remained the top Western Conference team.
"You never know, but we feel confident about ourselves," Durant told The Times' Mike Bresnahan. "The Lakers, we always respect them. We always have battles with them. I'm sure it's going to be even more fun this upcoming season when we play against those guys."
Neither Durant nor Harden appeared interested in revisiting that conversation on Fallon's show. As a result, the audience cheered and laughed to break up the tension. Fallon then stumbled into a plug Harden and James likely wanted to make about their Nike Fuel bands.
"It tracks your steps and calories," Durant said. "If you try to lose some weight, you should get one."
The Lakers have needed to take such measures last year since they lacked the speed and athleticism to keep up with the youthful Thunder. But with the Howard and Steve Nash acquisitions, they should have enough. Just don't tell Durant and Harden that. They'll respond with stony silence.
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