Despite the Rockets fighting back into the series against the Warriors this week, Kevin Durant has continued his black magic sorcery on the court. Early in the fourth quarter of game three, KD scored on three straight possessions against three different defenders, and each bucket was a doctoral dissertation in the field of “oh you thought you could guard me?” The victims, Capela, Harden, and Shumpert, actually defended pretty decent, except it was decent in the way a child might play defense on his dad in the backyard. So basically, KD was doing to a 7-footer, former MVP, and defensive specialist what a 40-year-old does to his child when he decides he’s done enough dad-ing for the day and it’s time to go inside.
Stretches like that have been terrifyingly commonplace for Durant, averaging 35 points on 50/40/90 shooting these playoffs. Defenses have thrown everything they can at him, and he’s turned it all into dust while wearing a menacing smile. It made me think that if I was an NBA player playing a high stakes playoff game with millions of people watching, there’s a whole bunch of impossible situations I feel more confident I could get through successfully than having to guard Kevin Durant for just one possession. Here’s three:
Getting good interview content from Russell Westbrook after a Thunder loss:
Trying to get a good sound bite from Russ is like being underwater trying to snatch a pearl from the mouth of a shark before it snaps shut, except way more daunting. But, I’m pretty sure if I asked an obscure question that it seems kind of basketball-related but isn’t really—something like “how would you compare the workings of your jumpshot to the 2008 stock market crash?” or “how confident are you that Trump could palm one of those small nerf basketballs?”—I could at least incite the classic perplexed Russ face and a couple insulting words.
Enjoying an Amy Schumer comedy special:
There would need to be a lot of moving pieces to fit just right, but if I zoned out during her act just enough that I’m catching snippets of sentences but not whole thoughts, those random words could potentially trigger pleasant thoughts and memories. And then if some audience reactions were to time up perfectly with those thoughts, I think I could leave the experience having thoroughly enjoyed it. Tricking myself into liking an Amy Schumer comedy special is definitely asking a lot of fate, but still not as much as asking for Kevin Durant to miss a shot.
Solving relations between players and referees:
I know what you’re thinking: how could this possibly be more difficult than stopping Kevin Durant for just one possession? Sure, the rift between players and refs has never been so ugly and noticeable, and mending it would mean counteracting decades of systemic failure, corruption, and distrust. However, the rift between Kevin Durant and defenders has also never been so ugly and noticeable, and mending it would mean tying his feet to cement blocks and making him wear Mickey Mouse gloves on his hands. Also, forging mutual respect between players and refs is the obvious first step in fixing their issues, and I just don’t see “mutual respect” ever stopping Kevin Durant from eviscerating a defender into the floorboards.