It marked the second straight excellent defensive performance against Durant, one of the most gifted scorers in NBA history, and former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins came away very impressed.
“You didn’t get the memo that the Celtics opened up a correctional facility Saturday and their first arrest was Kevin Durant? Because look, they have him locked down at the moment,” Perkins said on ESPN after Game 2. “When you’re watching it, it’s the physicality, it’s the bumping him off the spots, it’s the speeding him up. And they’re doing it collectively, starting with a guy that he mentored in the Olympics in Jayson Tatum. And then all of sudden, you see Jaylen Brown, you see Al Horford getting out there on switches and getting physical with him. They’re playing boxes and elbows. Sometimes, Grant Williams is taking it to him.
“I have never seen a team get this physical with Kevin Durant and actually take him out of the game.”
Durant still scored a game-high 27 points Wednesday, but that mostly was a product of him going 18-for-20 from the free-throw line. He otherwise was terrible. And the Celtics made life really difficult on the 12-time All-Star by consistently throwing multiple defenders his way, oftentimes leading to uncharacteristic mistakes from KD.
“Look, the other point is the turnovers,” Perkins said. “These are not just careless turnovers. These are forced turnovers. They are on KD’s heels like a pair of socks, and in Game 1 along with Game 2, they have really punked Kevin Durant.”
The best-of-seven series now shifts to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Saturday night. The Celtics can’t afford to take their foot off the gas, as the Nets can explode offensively at any moment thanks to Durant and Kyrie Irving, but so far Boston head coach Ime Udoka deserves a ton of credit for a tremendous game plan.