As much as I will always hate on Kevin Durant for bailing on OKC and taking the easy way out by jumping on the Warriors band wagon, I do have to give him credit for one thing. He. Balled. Out. Guy scored 30+ in every game and was an absolute monster the entire series. He wasn’t just along for the ride. He wasn’t Steph Curry’s little sidekick. He took over games, made big shots and basically made the Cavs quit.
Now, is it pretty fucking easy to be a lethal scorer when arguably the best player in the league is getting wide open looks because he’s on a super team? Yes, yes it is.
But it wasn’t just his offense, as Jackie Mac notes in her column yesterday — it was his stifling D that made the difference.
“Most observers gushed over the 33 points he scored, but Durant also finished with five blocks, three steals and 11 defensive rebounds. Only one other player since 1984, according to Basketball-Reference.com, has matched those numbers: Hall of Fame shoo-in Tim Duncan, who did it in Game 1 of the 2003 NBA Finals. No Hakeem, no Shaq. Just Duncan, one of the finest defensive players of his generation, and Durant.”
He has the speed to stay with LeBron but also the size to swat Kevin Love shots into the rafters. Not to mention he’s quick enough to close on jump shots from guys like Kyrie. Durant has a 7’5″ wingspan for christ’s sake! The Cavs didn’t really have an answer for the Durantula, which Jalen Rose called the worst nickname ever last night. To which Paul Pierce responded like a goddamn boss, “We can’t all be The Truth.”
Which is what makes it kind of sad because any quote from KD like this will always be followed by a “yea…but”
“Nobody comes in and cares about the game or loves the game as much as I do or works as hard as do,” Durant said. “You can talk about whatever happens on the outside, but inside those lines, I come to bring it every day. I work hard, I believe in myself, I believe in the game, I respect the game, I love the game, and I knew at some point in my life that it will come around for me. So I just tried to stay with those principles and keep grinding.”
So Nike can pump the fucking breaks with this commercial.
“Debate This.” Fuck outta here, Nike. I will debate this. Thoroughly. Because he joined a 73 win team. A team that he was up 3-1 on the previous season with a trip to the Finals on the line.
“Hey, thats not fair — KD earned the right to pick his team in free agency and play wherever he wants!”
All true and fair points. But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s on easy street. This team was on cruise control to a title all year. Durant, again arguably the best player in the league, missed 20 games and the Warriors still won 67 games. Holy hell they might have won 80 if Durant was healthy. Looking ahead to next season, Golden State is already the most heavily favored team to win a title EVER:
“They’re going to be the highest favorite we’ve ever had going into a season, any team in any sport,” Jeff Sherman, NBA oddsmaker at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, told ESPN.
So I give Durant credit for being a beast in this series, but it’s gonna be hard for me to ever get over him jumping ship to the team that beat him. Guy must fucking HATE Russell Westbrook.
PS – Durant’s mom and Curry’s mom just GET it. So ride or die. Can’t knock that one bit.
Steph Curry’s mom says “What, What” in celebration with Kevin Durant’s mom. pic.twitter.com/jfGdYKpLRP
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) June 13, 2017