Kevin Durant and P.J. Tucker were the final Horns left standing in the NBA playoffs, and as luck would have it, the two battled it out in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Both Durant and Tucker were pitted against each other at certain points in the series, highlighting a Longhorn-versus-Longhorn, defender-against scorer-matchup. But Durant dominated that — and the series for that matter — leading Golden State to the Western Conference Finals.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
- (G1) Sun, 4/28 - Home win over the Houston Rockets: 35 points (11-25), 5 rebounds, 3 assists
- (G2) Tue, 4/30 - Home win over the Houston Rockets: 29 points (9-22), 5 rebounds, 4 assists
- (G3) Sat, 5/4 - Road loss to the Houston Rockets: 46 points (14-31), 3 rebounds, 6 assists
- (G4) Mon, 5/6 - Road loss to the Houston Rockets: 34 points (12-22), 7 rebounds, 5 assists
- (G5) Wed, 5/8 - Home win over the Houston Rockets: 22 points (8-18), 5 rebounds, 4 assists
- (G6) DNP
Let’s slim down Durant’s round-two performance to this takeaway: Kevin Durant may be a top-three scorer in playoff history.
Guys like LeBron James and Michael Jordan come to mind here, but Durant fits in snug with those two in the upper echelon. Durant came into this playoff averaging 29.2 points per game, but he’s managed to top that, averaging 33.6 points this series. But, while stats can prove that claim, it’s really his approach to the 30-40 point games that leave my jaw slack. He dominates every game from start to finish, and he’s doing it while converting on 46 percent of his shots from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.
Injury Update: Durant suffered a non-contact calf injury in game five, which was later diagnosed as a calf strain. He missed game six of this series and the prospect of him missing more time is still uncertain.
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
- (G1) Sun, 4/28 - Road loss to the Golden State Warriors: 0 points (0-4), 3 rebounds, 1 assist
- (G2) Tue, 4/30 - Road loss to the Golden State Warriors: 13 points (3-5), 10 rebounds, 2 assists
- (G3) Sat, 5/4 - Home win over the Golden State Warriors: 7 points (3-9), 12 rebounds, 3 assists
- (G4) Mon, 5/6 - Home win over the Golden State Warriors: 17 points (6-12), 10 rebounds, 3 assists
- (G5) Wed, 5/8 - Road loss to the Golden State Warriors: 13 points (5-9), 10 rebounds, 1 assist
- (G6) Fri, 5/10 - Home loss to the Golden State Warriors: 15 points (5-8), 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Tucker prolonged an unexpected scoring outburst in round one with an equally effective round two. If we’re forgetting his unwonted Game 1 performance, Tucker averaged 13 points per game while connecting on 12 threes in the series.
While he simply tried his best with Durant, he’s been dominant defensively, averaging two steals per game and playing gritty one-on-one defense.