Kevin Durant: Tony Allen’s defense is just ‘OK’
Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is the one person in the world who’s experienced anything that resembles "success" guarding reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant one-on-one.
However, being the competitor that he is, Durant doesn’t agree. A few days ago, the four-time scoring champion announced how he really feels about Allen’s defense on Twitter.
@waldorfsfinest yea that means U got cooked while playing ok defenseArticle continues below ...
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) March 10, 2015
Nobody shuts Durant down. That’s impossible. He’s really tall, has never-ending length and will go down as one of the best scorers who ever lived. He can dribble, drive, pass and draw fouls in his sleep. No strategy to even slow him down will consistently work over the course of a seven-game playoff series. Durant is too good.
That said, last year he admitted that Allen was in his head, affecting how he wants to shoot and even altering his form. The two heavyweights have faced off in 36 games since Durant’s rookie season, going head-to-head in 17 regular season games and 19 playoff battles.
According to Basketball-Reference, here’s how they’ve statistically matched up:
Durant averages 27.2 points on 47.7 percent shooting vs. Allen in the regular season; in the playoffs, Durant notches 28.2 a game less efficiently, shooting 43.8 percent. Both sets are about in line with Durant’s career regular-season and playoff averages respectively. "OK" might not be the worst descriptor here.
That said, Allen’s Grizzlies teams hold the edge in the win column, with his Celtics and Grizzlies taking 10 of 17 from Durant’s Sonics and Thunder in the regular season and 10 of 19 in the playoffs.
These numbers don’t take into account who else was on the court, or who, technically, was guarding whom, but they’re still interesting.