With KD at the four, Serge Ibaka at the five, and Dion Waiters at the three, the Thunder have Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson in the backcourt. On offense, Roberson is key, as we’ve been saying all year, but on defense it was Durant who shined brightest on Sunday night. With this group all five players can switch pretty much everything, beguiling a Warriors squad that’s used to doing the same against their opponents. The Thunder basically beat down the Warriors with their own tactic, and Durant played the role normally reserved for Draymond Green: elite defender.
Any time Green tried to do his coast-to-coast routine in mini-transition, there was KD.
When Dray slipped the high screen with Steph, KD was waiting with those Durantula arms ready to snuff out the layup attempt.
On that last one, it even led to Durant’s only triple of the night:
When the Warriors got out to run and had a seemingly wide-open dunk, Durant was there to do his Roy Hibbert impression. Harrison Barnes didn’t know KD could play that verticality card, either.
And while Serge Ibaka has seen his offensive involvement shrink since Billy Donovan took over as coach, he can still protect the paint, too.
Even if his presence is just a threat rather than an actual block, sometimes that’s enough, like it was here against a driving Klay.（(And did you see Roberson perfectly ride Klay’s hip to make that attempt even more uncomfortable. That’s why he`s out there.)
Roberson is an elite defender; it’s the only reason he can even stay on the court with the weakest three-point shot left in the playoffs. Watch him battle Klay in the post here to force up a difficult baseline leaner:
Kevin Durant’s alien wing span is forcing Klay Thompson into air balls
“I just think because of our roster and the flexibility on our roster and the guys and just how invested they are, different series bring out different situations,” Donovan said after the game. Their rookie sideline general wasn’t kidding. They played big to beat the Spurs, and now they’re playing small to beat the Warriors. It’s almost like they’re stealing each team’s advantage for their own. It wasn’t just Durant’s back-line defense that infused this Thunder small-ball group with so much confidence, either. No, it’s the fact that Durant, Ibaka, Roberson, Waiters and Russ can switch everything and not be made to look silly after doing so. The Thunder’s All-Star point guard — who has been known to stray on one side of the court — knew his team’s overwhelming advantage in Game 3 came when they buckled down on the defensive end.“It all starts with our defense,” Westbrook said after the game. “It’s not much offense. When we get stops, it`s tougher to stop us in transition.”
[–]Westnycman123 18 指標 11小時前
Durant's defense is horrifically underrated. He's really turned it up recently. He was embarrassing Draymond and the Warriors last night. On offense and defense.
[–]Thundervforprez2 5 指標 11小時前
Agreed, he doesn't get many steals or blocks but just on the ball he can legit guard 1-4 and be so effective due to his length and lateral quickness.
[–][SAS]Brent Barryjeewantha 3 指標 11小時前
His defense on Draymond was pure poetry
[–]kemba_sitter 17 指標 11小時前
Draymond feasts on larger, slower guys. He's quick. Match him with someone taller AND more athletic, and he's mitigated. Looked weak last night.
[–]ThunderBandwagonshehryar46 6 指標 11小時前
KD's got the length and athleticism to be Kawhi level if he goes as hard on D as he does on O. Just imagining a bigger version of Kawhi averaging 30-7-6 makes me all tingly inside
[–]San DiegoClippersFreeGums 48 指標 11小時前
Ive been waiting for Durant to play rim protector for a while. His length is just incredible. It would be a shame to waste him on the perimeter all the time.
[–]Thundervforprez2 13 指標 11小時前
This is what's confusing about OKC..Sometimes they seem so lazy defensively (not fighting through screens, bad rotations, gambling) but when they're locked in (game 1, game 3) they can be dominant on that end with their length, athleticism, and ability to switch. It always seems like an effort thing.
[–][OKC]Russell WestbrookA_Lax_Nerd 18 指標 11小時前
Didn't Donovan say something about simplifying the defensive schemes late in the season because guys weren't getting it yet? Maybe it's finally clicking now.
[–]atworkbeincovert 14 指標 11小時前
Billie Donovan is channeling his inner Bill Belichick by out coaching some of the best coaches in the game. Pop is probably the best in game adjuster alive, and Donovan out adjusted him last series. He is now doing it to one of the greatest teams in regular NBA season history. Maybe it's time to look at ol BD as the coach of the year here...
[–]Knicksunderhunter 9 指標 8小時前
The Don has experience man, he isn't a joke rookie head coach.
[–][MEM]Mario Chalmershahastupidsanders 8 指標 11小時前
KD is destroying Curry's hopes and dreams
[–]ThunderWiIIemdafoe 1 指標 4小時前
The Thunder are like Super 17 from DBZ. Absorbing your attack and dishing it back at you.