Kevin Durant’s season ended early in large part because he got the Dirk Nowitzki treatment. And he didn’t have enough help around him to compensate. When Russell Westbrook injured his knee in the first round against Houston, it meant Durant was destined for major multi-player coverages on defense. It didn’t matter against the Rockets, who aren’t known for their defense. But against Memphis, it was over in five games because the Grizzlies swarmed Durant and forced him into tough shots or tough passes. When he got the ball to open teammates, they couldn’t convert. Despite the early knockout for the defending Western Conference champions, Nowitzki said he believes the Thunder and Durant will learn and grow from the experience. “When Westbrook went down, I figured it was going to be tough for them just because of the scoring punch he brings,” Nowitzki said. “He’s so good in the open court creating his own shot. He’s always aggressive to score. With him not out there, everything was geared very much toward (Durant). It’s tough to make stuff happen all the time when you’re playing 47 minutes. It wears on you. Their future is still bright. Russell’s going to come back and they’re going to be contenders for a long time.”