Did Kevin Durant just Pass Kobe Bryant as the most Feared Player in the NBA?
Los Angeles led most of the game by double digits and had the Thunder looking hapless and out of syncs for long stretches of play. Westbrook was the only one scoring; Durant wasn’t even shooting, and heading into the fourth quarter, Harden hadn’t scored a basket since the 2nd quarter.
With the Lakers up by 14 with 8:00 minutes left to play, I started to talk about the possibility of stealing game 5 when my uncle stopped me and warned that this game was not close to being over. I almost laughed off the comment and thought to myself there is no way the Lakers would blow another 4th quarter lead to the Thunder.
Kevin Durant hits another game winner to put the Thunder up 3-1.2
Over the next 8 minutes OKC proceeded to go on a 22-8 run to finish off the game and take a 3-1 series lead over the Lakers. And once again I was shell shocked. Heading into the series I felt like OKC was the better team, and was cautiously optimistic about the Lakers pulling off the upset. But after 4 games, I firmly believe that the Lakers match up perfectly with the Thunder and are a better team. There is only one minor detail getting in the way: Kevin Durant.
With the game tied at 98 and Durant dribbling the ball at the top of the key with about 14 seconds left, I realized that as a basketball fan I was terrified of Kevin Durant. I just felt like there was a sniper waiting to pick me off. In my gut I knew he was making that shot.
As a Lakers fan there hasn’t been a player this terrifying since Jordan. Sure, you hate to see Dwayne Wade with the ball at the end of the game, or even Dirk or Pierce. But none of those players are terrifying. It is also weird and ironically justified that after having Kobe dish out so many assassin like performances over the years, that Lakers fans would now be haunted by Kevin Durant.
For the last 12 years Lakers fans have had a secret weapon waiting in the wings- a Jedi, if you will, to take over games and snatch victories away from opponents. There were many matchups throughout the years where Los Angeles might not have been the best team, but they had Kobe. Now it’s OKC who has a Jedi. The Lakers might know how to defend them, the Spurs might have a better team, and Miami might be more athletic, but OKC has Kevin Durant.
Game 4 was emotionally draining and mentally exhausting. I feel like I was kicked in the stomach. As a sports fan I will be devastated if the Lakers lose this series, but as an NBA fan, I have to say it has been a pleasure to watch Kevin Durant play basketball. I do not believe this series is a passing of the baton, but if it were, there’s no better player for Kobe to pass his ‘most feared player in the game title’ to than Durant.