Sports

As Thunder have gone younger and younger, Durant's influence looms larger and larger

  • Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant points skyward after scoring against the Utah Jazz in the second half during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Thunder won 101-98. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant points skyward after scoring against the Utah Jazz in the second half during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Thunder won 101-98. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)  (The Associated Press)

  • Fans reach for Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) following an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Thunder won 101-98. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    Fans reach for Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) following an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Thunder won 101-98. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)  (The Associated Press)

  • Utah Jazz's Mike Harris, right, battles for position with Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    Utah Jazz's Mike Harris, right, battles for position with Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)  (The Associated Press)

Russell Westbrook is just getting back after a knee injury. Serge Ibaka is in a horrible shooting funk to start the season and James Harden and Kevin Martin have left for bigger roles and bigger paychecks.

Kevin Durant has always shouldered a big load in Oklahoma City. But it's even bigger this season.

The three-time scoring champion is trying to strike a delicate balance early in the season. He says he wants to give the young supporting cast as much room as possible to grow into the roles vacated by Harden and Martin.

But he also wants to win. Durant says he's learning when to take the game over and when to try to get his teammates involved.

The Thunder are 2-1 heading into Wednesday night's game against Dallas.