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“I’ve never seen Kevin Durant guarded this way” - Stan Van Gundy praises Boston Celtics’ swarming defense on KD

The credit goes to head coach Ime Udoka, who is well familiar with the superstar's tendencies
Stan Van Gundy praises Boston Celtics’ swarming defense on KD

Kevin Durant was challenged big time defensively by the Boston Celtics in Game 2 

The Boston Celtics took a commanding 2-0 lead over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who combined for 41 points in Game 2, the Celtics found the formula to contain Kevin Durant, significantly affecting the latter’s production in the past two games.

Credit the Celtics’ suffocating defense

Stan Van Gundy (SVG), who called the Celtics-Nets game on the TNT broadcast, mentioned that he’s never seen Durant being guarded the way the C’s have over the past two games. True enough, Durant’s production has been mediocre compared to his usual standards as he was limited to 4/17 shooting in game two and 9/24 in game one.

Durant only scored 27 points in game two and was visibly challenged to get to the rim, take tough shots on the perimeter, and outbattle the physicality of the Celtics’ defense.

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The Celtics, who had the number one ranked defense in the league in the regular season, have lengthy, agile, and physically strong individual defenders who have found ways to make Durant’s life hell over the past two games.

Aside from the Celtics’ individual defense, the credit goes to head coach Ime Udoka, the assistant coach of Durant’s Nets just a season ago. Udoka is well-aware of Durant’s tendencies, and it shows in how the Celtics have guarded the superstar on and off the ball and how they’re covering the left side before Durant gets to take a shot in his usual perimeter spots.

Like what SVG said, Durant hasn’t looked this challenged in a long time. Maybe because he no longer has Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green on his side. It didn’t help that Durant’s co-superstar teammate, Kyrie Irving (after a spectacular 39-point game one performance), went back to earth and had only an all-time low of 10 points in game two.

The Nets need more from KD.

If the Nets want to make this a series, Durant needs to play better than he did in the past two games. The challenge for the two-time champion is to figure out how to adjust and attack the Celtics’ swarming defense. The Nets can’t afford Durant and Irving to score below 30 points each in the upcoming games because they don’t know if their role players can shoot the way they did in game two.

The key for Durant is to figure out how to outbattle Al Horford, Daniel Theis, and Tatum — three of the players who really locked him up in the past two games. He also needs to win the physical battle and get back to the rim as much as possible. Game three could be a legacy game for both Durant and Irving, who need to play their best games to stay alive in this series. 

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