Durant took the challenge of checking LeBron James for the first three quarters. Over that span, the Heat's star and league MVP scored 23 points on 18 shots. James, meanwhile, was assigned to a much easier-to-defend offensive player in center Kendrick Perkins.
“I like what Kevin is about,” Brooks said. “He wants to be that two-way player.”
Durant added eight rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. He made 12-of-20 shots (6-of-9 in the fourth quarter) and turned the ball over just twice.
“I think KD got a couple looks that we don't like,” James said. “He had two transition 3s that we gave up where he had nobody on him, and he had a couple jumpers that we didn't like, either, with nobody on him. We need to make adjustments with that. We will make adjustments.”
Durant downplayed his defense on James.
“You can't really stop a guy like that,” Durant said, “just got to play hard and contest. For me, he got a few layups, but I've just got to continue to stay in front and play my hardest. It's a tough match-up, but I've got to play with some fire and we'll see what happens.”
So far so good.