Skip Bayless explains how Kevin Durant is the key to Golden State winning another NBA title

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In his conversation with Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor about Stephen Curry's ankle injury against the San Antonio Spurs, Skip Bayless explains how the Golden State Warriors can still compete for another NBA title because of Kevin Durant.

- Mr. Sharpe.

- Yes.

- I cannot tell you how wrong everything you just said will be proven to be. Because I do think there is a chance, god bless Steph Curry, but I think there is a chance this is going to be recurring. Because this is now four times he's rolled this ankle in three months, and now he's going to miss another couple of games.

So let's just do hypothetically, and god bless him, I'm not trying to wish this upon him, but let's do hypothetical no Steph. Without Steph, this team is still plenty good enough to win yet another title, because Kevin Durant is plenty great enough to carry this team to another title without a two-time MVP in Steph Curry.

And I don't disagree with your statement about 3-point shooting, because it just shoots the lights out. It brings the crowd up or it can silence the crowd. But they get a little too dependent on the 3-point shot. And what happened last night, right before your very eyes, Kevin Durant showed you, once again, why he clearly is now the best player in all of basketball.

- Stop it, Skip! Why you do that?

- Clearly he's the best player. Because he can shoot the 3, but he can really shoot the 2 like nobody else in this game can. And it got so bad in the fourth quarter that my Spurs tried everybody. They tried to run LaMarcus at him, and Kyle Anderson, and Danny Green, and name somebody on the roster, and they tried to run at him. And they could not stop Kevin Durant.

My Spurs were up 9 after three quarters. They were up 8 with 4:44 left in the game. They were up 7 with 4:06 left in the game. And what do you call him, that 7' monster?


- As long as we're in the context of how great Kevin Durant is, you call him that 7' monster. But if we put him in the context of best player in basketball, oh, no, no, no, no, no.


- Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. That 7' monster is what you-- I'm quoting this man across from me.


- The 7' foot monster took over that game, because Golden State proceeded to go on a 14 to 4 closing run, and guess who scored 10 of those points? That 7' monster, Kevin Durant.

And by the way, in the fourth quarter, he had 15 points in just seven minutes. Spread that out over 48 minutes and guess what? That's Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game.

SHANNON SHARPE: Oh, like that-- like that 15 that LeBron had in the second quarter?

- Oh, OK. Yep.

SHANNON SHARPE: So if you spread that out, so he'd have a 60. So 15, first, second, third, fourth.

- Yep.

SHANNON SHARPE: That'd be like 60 points?

- OK, well this is 100 points we're talking about.

SHANNON SHARPE: That man ain't scored no 100.

- And the point is, he did it in closing time!

SHANNON SHARPE: Whoa, whoa, Skip, you just watched Wednesday.

- Woo.

SHANNON SHARPE: Did you not watch Wednesday night?

- Yep, I saw exactly. I'm going to reiterate to you what happened. The first 3 was made by George Hill. And the second 3 that then tied-- put them ahead by 3 was Rodney Hood. And then the third 3--

SHANNON SHARPE: No, Kyle Korver made the one that put them ahead.

- Kyle Korver. It went Kyle Korver, Rodney Hood, George Hill. Those were three straight 3s that tied, put them ahead by 3, and put them ahead by 6.

- Assist, assist, assist by LeBron.

- It was game over when LeBron finally closed.

- Don't do that, Skip. Skip, don't do that, Skip.

- How can you close a game that's over?

- Skip, don't do that.

- Seriously, Joy, think about that, that concept. You close a game that's already over?

- Skip, don't do that.

- No, no. That doesn't work.

- Skip, the man scored the last-- Skip, don't do him like that.

- Mm.

- The last 9, he scored it. Shooting 3, the fall-away step-backs, you saw it, Skip. And you want to diminish--

SKIP BAYLESS: I don't want to diminish. I want to tell you what happened without Steph Curry last night.

- And without Kawhi.

- This man took over. There was no Kawhi, that's true.

- Mm hm.

- So I'm going to remind you that LeBron James' team, 19 straight times, the last 19 times it has trailed going to the fourth quarter, it hasn't won a single one of those games.

- Mm hm.

- That's 0 for your last 19, and that's LeBron James, the quote, unquote, "best player on the planet," right? And yet last night, the comeback king was Kevin Durant, because the comeback king is not LeBron James. And remember, he only made one 3 in the fourth quarter, did Kevin Durant. So all he's doing is making 2 point jump shots, and you want to talk about unstoppable?

And so I want you also to consider this. In the 11 games that Steph Curry missed starting December 4, that was the one big chunk of time that he missed, all of a sudden, the Golden State Warriors featuring Kevin Durant on defense vaulted to number one in the NBA in defensive rating. They're overall for the year sixth in defensive rating, which is OK.

But in that stretch with no Steph, who's not the greatest defender, they go straight up to number one. Because all of a sudden, one of the best rim protectors, if not the best rim protector in basketball, happens to be that 7' monster, who plays now for Golden State named Kevin Durant.


- Who plays 7' tall, he's not quite listed at 7', but he plays with the length of a seven footer. So right now, Kevin Durant has risen all the way up to fourth in the NBA in blocked shots, and he had four more last night against my Spurs. He is dominating games on the defensive end, as well as the offensive end, while LeBron James has now plummeted to 335th in the league in defensive win shares out of 514 players. 335th? Wow. So Kevin Durant has turned into a dominating defender, while LeBron James doesn't really care much about playing defense any more.

- But here's the thing, Skip. Look here.