Sunday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks pitted a couple of former MVPs against each other in Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. In most every sense, the matchup lived up to its billing.
Antetokounmpo dropped a season-high 49 points. Durant went off for 42 points, his second straight game doing so. And Milwaukee’s 117-114 win even included something that drew a roar from the Fiserv Forum crowd — while leaving Twitter essentially speechless.
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Giannis Blocks Durant’s Jumper
With about two minutes left and the Nets trailing by six, Durant went to work. The 6-foot-10 forward drove right with Antetokounmpo closely on his case. Durant rose high as he faded away on a 13-foot shot inside the paint. Then Antetokounmpo did the impossible, blocking Durant’s pull-up jumper at the apex of his release.
The play wound up working out in Brooklyn’s favor: Jeff Green corralled the loose ball after the block before dishing to Kyrie Irving, who drained a 3-pointer with four seconds left on the shot clock. But the real eye-opener was the block by Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 forward and the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Durant’s 7-foot-5 wingspan, high release point and general ultra-effectiveness as a shooter has made him a nightmare for defenders. Doing enough to slow him down a bit is a tall order, but actually blocking one of his jumpers? Largely unheard of.
Accordingly, users on Twitter lost their collective minds trying to process what had just happened.
“Giannis blocked a KD jumper!!!” NBATV host Chris Miles tweeted. “I don’t ever remember seeing someone SWAT a KD fadeaway.”
“Can anyone else in the world other than Giannis block KD’s jumper?” @LegionHoops tweeted. “My goodness.”
And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
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Even Kobe Couldn’t Figure out KD
Durant, who is averaging 27.6 points per game this season and has averaged 27.0 points in 876 games over his NBA career, has always been considered among the most unguardable players in the league.
Kevin Durant. That was the one that I retired without really being able to figure out what it is– how I can stop him. When he first came into the league, he was easy to defend because he couldn’t go right and shoot. He shot kinda across his face so that was a weakness that he had. Also, in the post, he couldn’t turn left shoulder, everything was right shoulder so that gave me areas that I could shut off. Right then, he started developing so I developed it and now he can pull up left, he can pull upright, he can shoot the long ball, he has runners, left hand, right hand. Before he had a left-hand finish at the rim, I could always send him left, force him all the way to the basket, even with the advantages of besides, he was still uncomfortable finishing with his left so I could clamp the right hand, and now forced him into a tough situation. But now he’s developed that so I retired not being able to figure him out.
Through that lens, Antetokounmpo’s block of Durant is even more impressive.