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Are we seeing the start of Kevin Durant’s decline?

Fans are not accustomed to seeing Kevin Durant struggling to score. Credit the Boston Celtics defense for that.
The Decline of Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is struggling in this playoff series against the Boston Celtics which raises questions on whether we are seeing the start of his decline

Fans of Kevin Durant are wondering if this is the real KD they are watching in the series against the Boston Celtics. Are we seeing the start of his decline, or is it the defense of the Boston Celtics?

After all, is said and done, Kevin Durant will go down as one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. He's one of those offensive powerhouse types of basketball players that could only be best defended by prayers hoping he would miss. Tall, long-limbed with an 88.8-inch wingspan who plays like a shooting guard, the Brooklyn Nets star had always been a cheat code. But now, against the Celtics, it seems KD has been nerfed.

In Game 1, Kevin shot 9-24 on the field with 1-5 shooting beyond the arc. He was minus 13 in that loss. In Game 2, Durant had to bleed for points. He scored 27 points, but most came from the charity stripe. KD also shot 4-18 from the field and was 0-10 in the second half. This prompted Stephen A. Smith to call the performance "embarassing."

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"He looked shook, he looked rattled and I never thought I would see something like that happen to Kevin Durant on the offensive side of the ball. It was an abysmal, embarrassing performance by Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets are on the verge of getting swept."

Boston Celtics may have found KD's kryptonite

It may be aging, but superstars don't decline overnight, especially someone of Durant's caliber. The Boston Celtics are doing a good job throwing him different looks on defense. Surprisingly, in this series, KD's kryptonite is the opposing team's superstar: Jayson Tatum.

When Tatum was the primary defender of KD, the Nets forward only scored 8 points on 2-13 field goals. Moreover, Durant had zero assists and seven turnovers. It's another reason why the Celtics have found another gear in the regular season after a poor start and are now enjoying a commanding 2-0 lead against the Nets: Tatum is working on offense and defense.

It's not only Tatum who's making it harder for Kevin. There's also Al Horford and recently-crowned Best Defensive Player of the NBA, Marcus Smart. The Nets head coach Steve Nash and the rest of the coaching staff need to figure out how to place Durant in his comfort zones in their offensive schemes because they are staring at an early exit from the playoffs.

For Durant, he must assess things and remind himself who he is. Like Tatum, KD needs to find ways to become effective, not just in scoring. If Brooklyn needs him to become a defender or a facilitator, which he is more than capable of doing, Kevin must focus on those if his shots aren't falling.

If the Brooklyn Nets want to win this series, Kevin Durant must discover how to shift to another gear. Because clearly, the Celtics have figured out how to stop his impact so far in this historic series. 

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