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.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.
First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.
Three quick takeaways here:
1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.
2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.
3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.
(Hat tip reddit)
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.