In the era of load management and on the second game of a back-to-back right before the NBA All-Star break, the Golden State Warriors would never play Kevin Durant for all forty-eight minutes of the game in Portland, but they probably would have won if they did.
KD started out strong with 16 points on 7 for 9 shooting, 3 rebounds and an assist in the first quarter, dropping this three to close it out:
KD is feelin' it tonight pic.twitter.com/rZjFnTFFTZ— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 14, 2019
Durant was attuned to his teammates and strong with his moves to the rack, including this nice alley-oop set up by Klay Thompson:
KD had 20 points on 8 for 11 shooting at halftime and he came out in the third and continued his easy money sniping:
With five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Warriors still had a lead and Kevin Durant was still deadly efficient with 28 points on 10 for 13 shooting, including this three assisted by the nice touch pass from Jonas Jerebko:
Set up by the steal from Jerebko and KD’s other-worldly offensive awareness and floor spacing, Durant took another nice assist from Klay Thompson and threw it down for the hammer dunk:
But the sequence that clinched the Warrior Wonder for KD and exemplified his potent, two-way efficiency on the floor was this block and trash-talk on Damian Lillard leading to his strong take to the rack and trash-talk to the Blazers’ bench on the other end:
Durant blocks Lillard’s dunk, talks to Lillard. Goes down the other end, gives Warriors the lead, talks to Blazers bench. pic.twitter.com/BxT74OHPhU— Jake Hutchinson (@hutchdiesel) February 14, 2019
Some had high praise for KD’s performance and others questioned why Kerr would sit Durant when Kevin was locked in:
This is up there with Durant's best-ever regular season games for the Warriors. Dominant in all facets.— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) February 14, 2019
KD was on fire then Kerr sits him for SEVEN mins smh moron— 41-15. 2018 CHAMPS (@GoIdenState) February 14, 2019
But disgruntled fans have not won multiple NBA championships like Steve Kerr, and Kerr played Kevin Durant for the more minutes than anyone else on the team, except for Stephen Curry who also played a team-high 33 minutes.
While Dubs fans would probably like to win every game, coach Kerr knows what’s best for a team playing its fifth game in seven days, on no rest and in the middle of their quest for their fifth straight Finals appearance and third straight NBA championship; even if it means sitting KD and the end of a five game winning streak and eleven game road-winning steak, even if it means going smash-the-clipboard ballistic to sacrifice himself instead of Draymond Green:
And when things got out of hand, the outcome of the game was out of reach and his coach was out of control, Kevin Durant still kept his cool and took control of the situation on the floor, just like he did for most of the game.
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Blazers on 2/13/19?
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