Kevin Durant is scoring 28.5 points a game, but one of the most efficient elite scorers ever — he had a ridiculous true shooting percentage of .635 this season — has been slowed down in the playoffs.
With Tony Allen being physical on him and good help defense (including Marc Gasol) Durant is shooting 39.6 percent this postseason, with a true shooting percentage of .493. He was 5-of-21 shooting in Game 4. You can see it is bothering him, with Durant rushing his usually fluid shot. The only games they are winning is when someone other than Durant or Russell Westbrook step up (such as Reggie Jackson’s 32 in Game 4).
Durant admitted that Tony Allen’s defense is starting to get into his head, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN.
“I’m worrying about a guy coming from behind trying to block the shot,” Durant said. “I’ve just got to focus in on the rim and my shot. I can’t go out there and think too much, I have to let my instincts take over….
“I’m not being disciplined enough in my shot,” Durant said. “I’m either pulling it back too quick or shooting too quick.”
Can Durant find a comfort zone back at home in Game 5? You can say, “the Grizzlies can’t hold this great a scorer down forever” but they don’t need to hold him down forever, just keep him in check three more games. Don’t let him become the super efficient Durant from the regular season.
What matters more is if Durant gets some help. If it’s just him and Westbrook against the world Memphis will have the upper hand.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.