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Kawhi vs. KD

Kawhi vs. KD

By Alex Reilly

It’s not very often that the two best players in the league face off in the championship. It’s even less often
that the two best players facing off in the finals may not be with their respected teams next year. Kawhi
Leonard and Kevin Durant have dazzled fans getting buckets at an insane clip this playoff but their futures with their teams are in serious question.

Leonard is the playoff leader for total points (561) and hit the biggest shot for the North, since the Night
King shot down Viserion, to stop the Process knocked down the giant Embiid. What has really been
impressive is how when the game slows down in the fourth quarter, as tight playoff games so often do, Kawhi goes to another level on both sides of the ball. He basically shut down Giannis while putting up 29 and 9  and hitting every clutch fourth quarter bucket over the course of the ECF. This is more impressive than even LeBron’s feat of beating the Celtics shorthanded last year.

Kawhi is also unlike any superstar we’ve ever seen. He talks to no media, forced his way out of a very stable franchise, the only information about him comes from his Uncle Dennis, reps New Balance, and had a franchise so scared that they let him take load management breaks weekly this season. So how would anyone know what he’s thinking or where he’s playing next year?

Durant was having an all-time playoff scoring run before getting shot with a sniper in the right calf after
hitting another routine J. In the games, before he got hurt he dropped 34, 46, 29, 35, 50, 45,
33, 38, – hell of a 7 game run. But what’s even crazier than that offensive flurry is that the Warriors don’t
even need him! How could that be?! It makes no sense but also makes perfect sense. When you play iso
heavy ball, as the Warriors played in the playoffs with Durant, the rest of the players are not as focused
and involved with the game. Think about if you’re playing pick-up and one kid shoots every time, no chance
the other players are playing as hard on defense or rebounding if they know there isn’t even a possibility
that they get a shot. So even if you have better players that doesn’t always mean the team will be
better. Even Steph was severely affected. When KD got hurt, their whole strategy reverted back to a
free-flowing attack, share the ball with wide open 3’s a la 2015 best record Warriors. The Warriors are so
rich with talent that it doesn’t matter either way as they still keep winning, which is exactly why KD has
to leave. How could one of the top 20 players of all time not be pissed or feel undervalued that this
team is excelling at a higher level without him, even after he went on that ridiculous tear?

Welcome to the NBA in 2019 where no one is happy in seemingly perfect situations. Kawhi is a heavy
Vegas favorite (-200) to be a Clipper next year and if the Warriors win without Durant or if he has little
impact if he returns, he HAS to leave. I mean you can’t be up 3-1 and blow the lead then join the team
that beat you then once you joined that team… the team wins the title and looks better without you. But
hey who knows, just sit back and enjoy the finals. Warriors in 6 – Steph MVP runner-up Draymond.

Photo: Pr4_photography 

 

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