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Warrior Wonder: Kevin Durant unleashes his inner Kobe

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Durant had a “good” night on 10-of-29 shooting.

Golden State Warriors v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In the current NBA, efficiency is king.

But it’s not everything.

On a night that saw the Los Angeles Lakers retire two jerseys to honor the career of Kobe Bryant, Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant did everything in his power to win. Sure, it was one of the more inefficient shooting performances in Durant’s Warriors career, but when you end it all with a game-winning hesi pull up jimbo it’s all good.

Durant started the game by shooting 5-for-23 from the floor, but finished with an acceptable 36 points (including 12 in overtime) on 29 shots. Kobe would be proud. Steve Kerr agreed, comparing the performance to Kobe and Jordan - saying that coming through in the clutch after rough shooting starts is “what great players do.”

Another all-around gem of a game from Durant

Durant continues to be incredible during Steph Curry’s absence with a sprained ankle. As per Anthony Slater of the Athletic, this recent stretch from Durant is as historically significant as it is impressive:

The last five games, after Curry's injury, Durant has now gone loco in those four categories, by game: 35-11-10-2 followed by 36-10-7-5 followed by 28-9-5-3 followed by 36-11-7-2 followed by 36-11-8-3.

Per the team's research, Durant is the first Warriors player since Rick Barry in February of 1967 to go for 35 points and 10 rebounds four times in a five-game stretch.

We haven’t discussed it as much as perhaps we should, but Durant is covering for not just one star player, but two. He has been carrying additional scoring load to cover for Curry, and defending and rebounding at a high enough level to keep Draymond Green from chirping in his ear.

About that poster dunk

As per Basketball-Reference.com, Durant is currently doubling his career average pace of blocks per game. At 2.2 blocks per game, Durant has been jostling for the NBA-leading mark in this category all season and currently ranks second in the league (right behind Miles Turner’s 2.2 blocks per game).

As a player who takes pride in my defense (although definitely nowhere near NBA-level talent), I have got to take umbrage at the relevant weighting that we, as fans, give to dunking versus being dunked on.

Remember this sequence? Less than one month ago, Durant lost a shoe on one end, then came back and shut down the other team with two consecutive blocked shots all while playing in just a sock on one foot.

So, before we get all nuts about how badly Durant got destroyed by that Larry Nance, Jr.. dunk, let’s just place that play within the broader basketball conversation about Durant.

If you go for lots of blocked shots, you are going to get dunked on from time to time.

“Two effing points!” is about as close to swearing as Barnett is ever going to get.

Warrior Wonder: KD

36 points, plus 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocks.

Wonderful.

Now, go ahead and put your votes in, so we can make this official!

Poll

Vote for your Warrior Wonder against the Lakers

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Kevin Durant
    (293 votes)
  • 5%
    Andre Iguodala (9 pts, 8 rbs, 4ast, 2stl)
    (25 votes)
  • 16%
    Omri Casspi (14 pts, 10 rbs)
    (73 votes)
  • 8%
    David West (6 pts, 4 rbs, 2 ast, 2 blocks)
    (36 votes)
  • 2%
    Kevon Looney (8 pts, 7 rbs in 21 minutes)
    (12 votes)
439 votes total Vote Now