OAKLAND: It's typical that Kevin Durant is a brilliant quarterback, a fabulous defender, the next. When the warriors needed it most of the night of Monday, it became a dynamic player.
It was as if identities were being changed on demand. What kept the same during a 117-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies was Durant's commitment, disinterest and efficiency.
He scored 16 points in the first half because the Warriors needed them. He scored six in the second, but delivered four assists and at least three secondary assistances; What I needed was that Draymond Green retreated to rest with a bruise on his feet.
"It was dictated by the game," Durant said about his duties. "Obviously, Draymond does this for us a lot and the coach depends on him to do it. But with him in the locker room, I just tried to provide that same blow to us, facilitating basketball but also being aggressive to score."
When Durant is in that mode, there is little that an opponent can do. At 6 feet and 11, it is high enough to fire your defender or go through it. What is toxic for the opponent is that he is equally adept at both.
In the third quarter, Durant embraced the role of taking the ball to the court and putting the warriors in their crime. It was basically done with Stephen Curry and committed a crime.
During his 32-minute work, Durant added 22 points (7 of 11 shots from the field, 8 of 8 of the line), six assists, six rebounds and a robbery. He did not have bills and was more than 25 for the game.
"Often, he will only have the ball in his hands anyway, but from time to time design things where he can manipulate the ball and distribute it," said coach Steve Kerr. "With Draymond in the second half, the ball naturally gravitated to KD.
"And this was a sort of a typical Kevin night, where you do not have to shoot a lot – maybe you're not even interested in shooting a lot. It's out there and when you look at the statistics at the end, it's incredibly efficient in the distribution of the ball and it's a plus -25. The face is amazing. Evening and night, its efficiency is just remarkable. "
Durant realized that Memphis was covering towards painting, forcing Warriors' head feet and, generally, frustrating their offense. Curry was trapped in him several times and committed five details as a result.
In fact, with Durant being successful – the Warriors overcame the Grizzlies 34-15 in the third quarter – Curry seemed to relinquish a large part of his gaming duties to his teammate.
"I just tried to find the right game," Durant said. "They were helping a lot on the disks, so I just tried to do the smart game because at the beginning of the game we were receiving turnovers. We were not ourselves when we entered the paint because they were closing the paint."
Generally, when opponents play "choose their poison" with Durant, they have to choose whether to play their midrange, their records or their 3 points. On this night, the Grizzlies had to choose between these options and also their ability to give their defense.
They never had any chance.