Kevin Durant isn’t just one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen. His game has evolved to include a prolific presence on the other end of the floor as well.
In the Golden State Warriors’ venerated death lineup, Durant often acts as their de facto rim protector. Both his perimeter defense and his ability to patrol the paint have improved tremendously over the years as he’s learned how to effectively leverage his considerable length to make life miserable for his opponents.
He put the full repertoire on display Friday night against the Pelicans during one particularly thrilling sequence despite being deprived of one of the key components of basketball-playing ensemble.
After losing a shoe on his way through the lane for an easy layup, Durant hustled back on defense, tossed the errant shoe to the sideline, then proceeded to block, not one, but two consecutive Pelicans’ shot attempts on the same possession.
The old yarn about being able to beat someone with one hand tied behind your back might literally be true for Durant. Still, the Warriors are trailing a feisty New Orleans squad hungry for their first win of the young season late in the second quarter of their marquee match-up on ESPN Friday night.