Game 4 between the Rockets and Warriors is scheduled for tonight, and this will be a crucial game to determine the tone for the rest of the series. The two most consistent players so far in this series have been former teammates, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, and they are putting on a show offensively every single night.
During the first three games so far Kevin Durant is averaging almost 37 points per game with incredibly high efficiency. So far nobody found a way to stop Kevin Durant in this playoff series, however, according to stats from a sample of three games so far it seems James Harden actually had the most success guarding Durant.
Harden was often criticized because of the lack of effort he had on defense, however, he did improve in the past couple of seasons and in when he guarded KD in this series he did it better than anyone. In 72 possessions so far this series, Harden limited Durant to only 22 points and lowered his field goal percentage to only 33 percent. To put things into perspective, in 195 possessions guarded by the rest of the team Durant able to be more successful and scored 88 points shooting 47 percent from the field.
Looking at the stats, Durant’s efficient field goal percentage is only 38 percent and when guarded by other players on the Rockets it goes up to 54 percent which is a significant increase. What is interesting is that Durant is shooting at a very similar rate from the three-point land whether guarded by Harden or other players from the Rockets.
The Warriors offensive rating is also decreased when Harden switches on Durant and is close to 114 compared to 116 when guarded by anyone else.
It’s safe to say Harden’s main assignment is not to stop or slow down Durant because that would take a lot from his offense, but it’s evident Harden is doing his best when switched on Durant this playoff series.
It will be interesting to see how both of them will perform in the crucial game 4 tonight, and if Harden will end up in a situation to guard to Durant, it will be essential he does a good job as he did so far throughout three games.