For the past few weeks, Kevin Durant has been carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But is he also carrying the ball?
Washington beat the Oklahoma City on Saturday night, snapping the Thunder’s 10-game win streak mostly because they held the super-efficient Durant to an 8-of-21 shooting night.
Then after the game Wizards big man Nene threw out this little barb when J. Michael of CSNWashington.com asked how they slowed KD down.
“First of all, pray,” he said of how the Wizards were able to hold Durant to 8-for-21 shooting. “Second, have good luck. The third do your best. That dude is very skilled, long body, tall, skinny but strong for that kind of body — and the referees are allowing him to carry the ball.”
The first sign you’ve hit it really big? Everyone starts taking shots at you. Congratulations KD, you’ve finally made it.
I went and looked at some video of Durant coming off the pick-and-roll, plus as the ball handler in transition to see if he does carry and my thought is no more than anyone else in the league.
Part of it is Durant’s length creates the perception of hit because he can come off a pick and keep the ball a little farther away from his body if he wants. The way he moves with the ball when attacking can make it look like a carry at times — but the same is true of Tony Parker and John Wall, not to mention pretty much every guy with a good crossover in the league.
When Durant is idly dribbling the ball out top as the play sets up, you could argue he does carry it at times. If you want a strict interpretation of the rule.
But if you’re going to call KD on that you’re going to start calling half the guys in the league for the same thing because you’re changing how the rule is enforced. And certainly one thing that would make the NBA more fun is more referee whistles. Can’t get enough of those.
Nikola Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks due to his concussion and fractured jaw.
Bobby Portis has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for causing those injuries to Mirotic with a punch at practice.
What does this mean for a Bulls locker room that was already going to have to deal with the weight of losing a lot of games. I get into all these questions in this latest PBT Extra.
It’s going to be a long season in Chicago.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.