Warriors

Durant at same level or above LeBron's, and this isn't new

Durant at same level or above LeBron's, and this isn't new

OAKLAND -- Two games into the NBA Finals, the biggest names on the marquee are living up to the billing, though Warriors superstar Kevin Durant is making an impressive case for being equal to, and maybe above, Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

And it’s not exactly new, either.

Durant’s latest performance in a 132-113 victory in Game 2 on Sunday was even more fantastic than his work in Game 1, which was nothing less than tremendous.

“He’s a reason why we’re able to be who we are,” Warriors teammate Shaun Livingston said.

Durant’s Game 2 statistics: a game-high 33 points (13-of-22 shooting from the field, 4-of-8 from deep, 3-of-3 from the line), a game-high 13 rebounds, a game-high five blocks and a game-high-tying three steals.

No player in league history has posted across-the-board numbers that were equal to, much less better than, those in a Finals game.

It was James who matched Durant’s steals total but even in posting a triple-double (29 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds) in Game 2 was, on the whole, a level below.

Once again.

And Durant was coming off a Game 1 in which he totaled 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 113-91 Warriors victory.

It’s enough to take Draymond Green back to the game on Jan. 17, 2014, when Durant, then a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, torched the Warriors for 54 points. He seemed unstoppable that night, and he’s on a similar plane now.

“When you’ve got somebody doing you like that, it's just like a burning fire in their eye and you know you don't stand a chance,” Green said. “But that's like the look that I see in him throughout these Finals.”

If Durant is on a quest, well, it should be understood. James is someone, perhaps the only someone, against whom he measures himself. His personal record against James before becoming a Warrior was 4-17, including the 2012 Finals, in which James and the Miami Heat defeated the Thunder in five games -- despite Durant posting individual numbers generally superior to those of James.

Since joining the Warriors last summer, though, it’s 3-1, the teams splitting two games in the regular season and the Warriors winning Games 1 and 2 of The Finals.

Durant’s averages over the last four duels: 32.0 points (54.0 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from deep), 10.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.3 blocks.

James’ averages: 27.0 points (50.0 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from deep), 11.7 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.0 block.

If Durant offsets James in these Finals, the Warriors win a championship.

If Durant outperforms James, the Warriors cruise to the top.

“He’s championship basketball,” Livingston said of Durant. “That’s what he’s been playing. You can tell he’s a man on a mission.

“Offensively, that’s what the world sees but what I see is defensively, he’s changing the game. Five blocks tonight and even more shots at the rim that he caused them to miss or alter.”

Michael Jordan claims Warriors' Steph Curry isn't Hall of Famer 'yet'

Michael Jordan claims Warriors' Steph Curry isn't Hall of Famer 'yet'

Through his first 10 NBA seasons, Steph Curry has won two league MVPs (one unanimous) and three league titles with the Warriors. He's been named to six All-Star teams and has a scoring championship under his belt. He's on pace to destroy the all-time record for most career 3-pointers.

By most accounts, he's changed the way young players shoot the basketball.

That should be enough to make Curry a Hall of Famer, right?

Not according to Michael Jordan.

"He's still a great player," Jordan said Monday on NBC's "Today." "Not a Hall of Famer yet, though. He's not."

MJ, you're the GOAT, but this is a freezing cold take.

How did this come up? About six years ago, Jordan was asked to pick four players he'd want to team up with in a fictional pick-up game. He chose Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen and James Worthy.

NBC's Craig Melvin asked Jordan if anything had changed since he picked those four and if he'd swap out any of them for current NBA players.

Jordan said he would not, and Melvin threw Curry's name out there, asking His Airness if the Warriors star should be offended.

"I hope not," Jordan said, before claiming Curry isn't yet a Hall of Famer.

[RELATED: KD picks Steph over Russ]

Curry has revolutionized the way the game is being played, just like some guy named Jordan did in the 1980s and 90s.

Jordan did a lot of good during his playing career, but since he hung up that Wizards jersey, not much has gone right for him. These comments are just another black eye on Mike.

 

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!

Kevin Durant's basketball life flashed before eyes after Achilles injury

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USATSI

Kevin Durant's basketball life flashed before eyes after Achilles injury

Kevin Durant is unlikely to step on the court in an NBA game this season. The last time he did, he tore his Achilles, one of the toughest injuries for basketball players to fully recover from.

The person that began defending Durant on the play on which he was injured was none other than Toronto's Serge Ibaka, who previously played alongside the two-time Finals MVP while both were members of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The two former teammates recently met up for the newest episode of Ibaka's Bleacher Report show, 'How Hungry Are You?', and Durant confessed what was going through his mind at the moment when his Achilles gave out.

"I felt like my whole basketball life flashed before my eyes," Durant told Ibaka. "I thought about everything I did from like the first time I played until then. That was the first time that something like that ever happened to me on the court. 

"I guess it just relaxed me a bit as I thought about it because I'm like, 'Man, I've been through everything and this is something else I've got to get over, so let me get my ass up, walk to the locker room and figure out what's next."

Before such a serious thought crossed Durant's mind, a far more comical one did so first.

"First of all, when you switched out on me, I was like, 'Why would y'all switch Serge out on me?" Durant questioned with a laugh. "Even though I'm a little hobbled right now, this a bucket. That's what I was thinking.

"And it's crazy how fast your mind switches, cuz in a matter of the next second, it was like I was on the ground thinking about my whole basketball career. It happened so fast, and once I got back to the back and realized what happened, I was just like, 'Alright, man, let me figure out ... when can I get surgery?'

"I was just trying to move on to the next step so fast and not dwell on it too much."

[RELATED: Who's better: Steph or Russ? KD makes his choice clear]

Little did we know at the time that Durant's next step would lead him to Brooklyn.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!