Things have already been testy between Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley. The Golden State Warriors star and the defensive-minded Los Angeles Clippers guard have been a ejected from one game already. Durant had to watch his team lose a game to the Clippers on Monday night.
People have been giving credit to Beverley for his defense on a Durant, particularly because Durant holds so much height over the diminutive guard.
But former Memphis Grizzlies wing Tony Allen says Beverley is doing at least one thing right when trying to shut down Durant. Plus, it’s working.
Tony Allen (@aa000G9) ,6x all-NBA defensive team selection, explains why Pat Bev is having success guarding Kevin Durant.
"One thing that hurts those tall guys is crowded space"
It seems like Beverley is probably doing a little bit more then just crowding Durant, but the idea holds. It’s definitely one of the things that Beverley is doing to disrupt Durant’s ability to be comfortable, and the idea that Durant fouled out of the game on Monday is pretty astonishing.
People sort of laughed at me when they heard me say that this series could be more entertaining than originally anticipated. Right now it’s all tied up and it’s been good watchin’ on the ol’ TV if you ask me.
Watch Kawhi Leonard dunk all over Giannis Antetokounmpo
Things started off okay for Milwaukee but started to peter off as the hometown Toronto crowd got behind their Raptors. The bench continued to show up for Leonard’s squad, and it was Kyle Lowry dueling it out with Antetokounmpo in the first quarter.
Leonard scored 19 points to go with seven rebounds and four steals, and perhaps his most impressive play of the night came early in the third quarter. Running a little two-man game with Marc Gasol, Leonard cut to the basket and wound up dunking all over the Milwaukee star.
The Golden State Warriors are moving on to the NBA Finals yet again, thanks in large part to the efforts of Stephen Curry. Golden State’s point guard is now heading to his fifth-straight finals, and without Kevin Durant he was a big reason why the Warriors were able to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in just four games.
Of course there is a real worry that Durant won’t be able to play in the NBA Finals, either partially or fully, thanks to a calf injury. If that’s the case, and the Warriors can take home another championship trophy, it could mean great things for Curry’s legacy.
Curry is currently chasing Magic Johnson as the best point guard ever in the eyes of many folks. What might help solidify Curry’s place in history would be an NBA Finals MVP, which he would likely wind up with if Durant is unable to impact the Finals the way he has.
At least for Andre Iguodala, Curry is already the second best point guard of all-time.
“I think he’s the second best ever,” Iguodala said. “I always thought that about him. I knew but other people didn’t know. So I wasn’t surprised when he took over that series. But I always gave Tony Allen credit. Playing against him made you understand the grind of how hard it is to win. It’s supposed to be hard. You’re supposed to have to find another way. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. He just embraced that. Just ingrained that into his system and it’s been there ever since.”
The real question is what Curry’s legacy will be after these Finals, particularly if they win without Durant. Some people aren’t keen to compare eras, and might never move off of Johnson for that spot. It seems reasonable to say that Curry is already the best shooter of all-time, but June could elevate him even further.
Raptors’ halfcourt defense, big games from Gasol, Lowry evens series with Bucks
Slow your roll on “these Bucks can challenge Warriors” takes…
They are going to have to get out of the East, first. And that is proving to be more difficult than it looked after two games.
Back home in Toronto, the Raptors slowed the game’s pace down and used an impressive halfcourt defense — the Bucks scored less than a point per possession when transition was taken away — to control this game. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Khris Middleton added 30 points, but outside those two the Bucks shot 35.4 percent and had just 13 fast break points. It all kept the Bucks offense relatively in check.
Relatively is good enough when everyone is hitting their shots.
Kawhi Leonard had a quiet 19 points, although he did have the dunk of the playoffs all over Antetokounmpo.
Leonard didn’t have to carry the team because everyone in white seemed to be knocking down their shots. Kyle Lowry had 25 points on 11 shots, Marc Gasol had 17 (and his aggressive offense the last two games has stressed the Bucks defense), Norman Powell had 18, Serge Ibaka 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Fred VanVleet had 13 points on six shots. The Raptors bench scored 48 points. Leonard (or Lowry) would draw attention on drives, but when the ball was kicked out and swung around, the open man didn’t hesitate and rarely missed.
All that led to a 120-102 Raptors win where Toronto was in control most of the way.
The series is now tied 2-2 and heads back to Milwaukee where the best-of-three left starts.
The Raptors continue to defend well in the halfcourt, with the Bucks scoring less than a point per possession (0.93) this game. In three of the four games, the Bucks have scored less than a point per possession in the halfcourt, but that only really matters if they can keep Milwaukee out of transition. The Raptors did that at home in a game with just 96 possessions, the fewest in this series (stats via Cleaning the Glass).
Individually, Milwaukee and Mike Budenholzer have leaned on Nikola Mirotic more in recent games, and the Raptors are now attacking him when they have the ball.
Combine that with an aggressive Gasol — he has started taking the shots from three that he hesitated on in the first two games — and his 3-of-6 from deep has become a big problem for Toronto.
Toronto had this in hand much of the second half, so much so that Drake was helping Nick Nurse relax on the sidelines.
Kyle Korver was taken by the New Jersey Nets with the 51st pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was traded on draft day by the Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers for cash considerations. The Nets famously — or infamously — used the cash from that trade to purchase an office copier.
More than a decade and a half later, Korver is still playing in the NBA at age 38. And now, thanks to Korver giving the commencement speech at his alma mater Creighton, we have an update on the status of that copier.
Kyle Korver noted in commencement address at Creighton Saturday that he found out the copy machine the Nets purchased with the cash considerations obtained in draft day trade with 76ers no longer works. He still does.