When the Thunder's season came to an end with an 88-84 loss to Memphis in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal on Wednesday night, four-time All-Star Kevin Durant no doubt was exhausted.
Durant misfired all night long from multiple locations, finishing 5 for 21 from the field, 11 for 15 from the free-throw line and 0 for 4 from 3-point range.
But as tired as Durant was, the man defending him might have been even more physically spent.
Veteran forward Tayshaun Prince spent his first 10½ seasons in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference and never had to defend Durant more than two times a season.
After being traded to Memphis in February, Prince's primary focused switched to Durant, who has won three straight scoring titles before this season.
Though Game 5 was Durant worst of the series, Prince said nothing changed in his defensive approach.
“It wasn't no different tonight, it was just a matter of trying to be as aggressive as I can,” Prince said. “He's definitely one of the toughest, hardest guys to guard in the league just by his ability to go in either direction. He's good both right and left and can pull up from behind the 3-point line.
“I just tried to continue to feel out his rhythm, his flow throughout this series. The first couple games it was tough.”
Teammate Marc Gasol smiled and said Prince wasn't given a special scouting report on Durant after arriving from Detroit. “You get to see plenty of Kevin Durant on TV,” Gasol deadpanned.
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