Kevin Durant was questioned Sunday night after taking a season-low six field goal attempts in the Golden State Warriors 121-114 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Despite the head scratching stat line, Durant hit five of those six shots and dished out a game-high 11 assists.
“Well, I’m a well-rounded player and I can still affect the game without taking a bunch of shots,” Durant said. “I know you’re used to putting me in a box as a player, but I’ve grown.”
On Wednesday night, Durant put that growth on full display in a career game. Hitting 12 of the 13 shots he attempted, Durants scored 28 points to lead the Warriors to a 118-103 win in Memphis against the Grizzlies.
“The game is easy for Kevin [Durant],” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “I don’t think there’s ever been anyone as skilled at that size in the history of the league. He just does whatever he wants.”
Durant hit all three of his attempted shots in the opening period. As evidenced by the slew of mid range baskets, the 6-foot-9 Durant was able to rise over his defenders, who helplessly tried to get even a finger tip on the ball.
Durant also dished out two assists as he helped the Warriors build a three-point lead before his first break of the evening.
While Golden State was able to get off on the right foot from an offensive standpoint, the defensive effort was lacking.
Memphis, in an attempt to hit the Warriors in one of their few vulnerable areas, went to their center, Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor.
In addition, a handful of Warriors turnovers led to a 10-1 Memphis run to end the first quarter.
Durant helped the Warriors overcome a six-point deficit in the second with eight more points on four field goals, including a layup off of a full-court pass from Draymond Green on an inbounds play.
“I just threw it,” Green said. “I just threw it up with two seconds to go. I already had a bunch of turnovers anyway. I figured one more wouldn’t hurt anything.”
Durant finished the play with a buzzer-beating finger roll to give Golden State a 66-60 lead heading into the locker room.
In the second half, the Warriors would trade runs with Memphis, allowing them to tie the game three times and even take the lead with 9:25 to play in the fourth quarter.
“They had, I think, 16 more shot attempts than us because of their offensive rebounds and some of our turnovers,” Kerr said. “I thought we did what we had to do to win the game [down the stretch].”
Cynching down on defense, the Warriors held Memphis to just one field goal in the final five minutes of the game as Durant carried on with his efficient night.
Durant did miss one shot, however, spoiling his bid for perfection on what was already the best shooting night of his career. In an attempt to draw a shooting foul, Durant received no whistle and watched his shot clank off of the rim.
“I talked to [referee] Kenny [Mauer]. He said they guy was just standing there,” Durant said. “He probably was. But I should have shot a better shot.”
“I don’t think this version of Kevin is really different than the other night,” Kerr said, comparing Durant’s performance on Wednesday to his game on Sunday. “Kevin is who he is. He’s one of the most efficient players ever.
“He can get any shot he wants against any defense. So regardless of how somebody is playing us, he can go get a shot and it’s a good shot.”