Stan Van Gundy said what so many were thinking during Wednesday’s national TNT broadcast of Game 2 between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
“I’ve never seen Kevin Durant guarded this way,” Van Gundy expressed time and time again as the Celtics had all eyes on the Nets superstar, who shot 0-for-10 in the second half as Boston rallied back for a 114-107 victory TD Garden.
Sure, the Celtics allowed 65 first-half points, but when it really mattered, it was a defensive masterpiece from head coach Ime Udoka and The Green. The Celtics made life difficult for Durant, specifically before he even caught the ball, and continued to bring a bruising physicality at the 6-foot-10, 240-pound scorer.
“They’re playing two or three guys on me sometimes when I’m off the ball, they’re mucking up actions when I run off stuff,” Kevin Durant said postgame, per NBC Sports Boston. “I see (Al) Horford leaving his man and come over to hit me sometimes. There’s two or three guys hitting me wherever I go, and that’s just the nature of the beast in the playoffs.”
“I feel like I got a couple good shots there in the fourth that didn’t go down, but I see a few of their guys around me every time I get the ball, when I’m setting up,” Durant added.
The game plan presented by the Celtics, especially given the tightly called contest, helped Durant get to the line 20 times (18-for-20 on free-throw attempts). It wasn’t something Udoka was thrilled about, and rightfully so, but the Celtics coach noted how perhaps Durant would’ve shot better than 4-for-17 from the field if not for Boston’s physicality.
Durant, who has 50 points in the two games, is shooting 32% (13-for-41) from the floor to start the series. He shot 52% from the field in 55 regular-season contests this season and has shot 50% in his career.
“They’re doing a good job of trying to cut off my scoring, limit my shot-making,” Durant said. “Two or three people contest, somebody there in the lane when I’m driving, they may double here and there. So they’re doing a good job. It’s on me to figure it out.”
Durant will have the opportunity to figure it out when the Nets, currently a slight betting favorite, return to Brooklyn to host the Celtics in Game 3 on Saturday.