It’s one day after the Celtics shocked the world by making Kevin Durant look like a brown shirt with no badges in NBA 2K22. In Game 2 after Nets built a 17 point lead, Kevin Durant turned into a turnover machine that could barely dribble or shoot. Anytime he touched the ball he saw three defenders on him, which caused him to look like a deer caught in headlights. While many people on social media were surprised, what they were actually seeing was the real Kevin Durant, not that fake KD we saw on the 73-9 Warriors team that you could argue didn’t even need him. In this article we’ll look back at the real Kevin Durant’s history in the playoffs, when he has to be the bonafide leader of his team.
A Timeline Of Kevin Durant Choking in NBA Playoffs Before and After Golden State Warriors Stint
Most people think that Kevin Durant is one of the most clutch players in the NBA, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Kevin Durant was rarely ever clutch in the playoffs until he joined the Warriors, where there was no pressure on him, because teams focused on slowing down Stephen Curry. When KD is the absolute first option on his team and considered a leader, he falters most of the time. If you don’t believe us let’s take a look at a timeline of Kevin Durant coming up short in the playoffs before and after his Warriors stint.
Exhibit A: In 2012 Kevin Durant Loses 4-1 in NBA Finals to Miami Heat
Now many people might not considered this a choke job by Kevin Durant, because he was going up against Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. However, on paper the Thunder had a better team, and many people actually picked them to win that series. Also Lebron James was dealing with cramps, and Dwayne Wade was battling a knee injury that had him looking like a shell of himself. There was no excuse for Kevin Durant only leading his team to one win, but we know KD is not a true leader on the basketball court.
Exhibit B: In 2013 Kevin Durant Loses 4-1 in Western Conference Semifinals to Grizzlies
This series was another one where Kevin Durant showed his inability to truly lead. In an elimination Game 5 against Grizzlies Kevin Durant shot 5-21 from the floor, and had 7 turnovers. He also missed a wide open midrange jump shot that could have sent the game to overtime. Does this sound familiar yet?
Exhibit C: In 2014 Kevin Durant Loses to Spurs in 6 Games in Western Conference Finals After Winning League MVP
The 2014 season was known as “The Year of Durant” in terms of his regular season dominance. This was the year where people started to put him on the same level as Lebron individually, and people thought he would lead OKC to a championship after winning league MVP. Then the playoffs came around, and KD choked once again. In an elimination Game 6 Kevin Durant went 2-8 from three point land, had 7 turnovers, and missed a three that could have saved the game.
Exhibit D: In 2016 Kevin Durant Loses 3-1 Lead to the Golden State Warriors in Western Conference Finals
Now this is the moment everyone still remembers about the Kevin Durant’s career. 2016 was the year KD gave up on trying to lead team, after he choked for 3 straight games against a Warriors team that had Stephen Curry playing with an injured MCL ligament. The footage below is from Game 6 where Thunder had a 4 point lead with only a few minutes left. Kevin Durant lost his team the game by ball hogging, bricking shots, and turning the ball over. Sound familiar?
Exhibit E: In 2021 Kevin Durant Loses 2-0 lead and 3-2 lead to Milwaukee Bucks in Eastern Conference Semifinals
We all remember this series. Although Kyrie Irving got injured, Kevin Durant still had James Harden and a comfortable 2-0 lead on the Bucks. Everyone expected Nets to still win the series. They lose Game 3, but went on to win Game 4. Now Nets have a 3-2 lead. Then Kevin Durant failed to lead his team to another win. In Game 7 with a chance to send the Bucks home, Kevin Durant air balled a game winning shot.
Exhibit F: In 2022 Kevin Durant Goes 0-10 in Second Half Helping Celtics Take a 2-0 Lead
Now we are in the present time. Nets are down 1-0 in a first round series, and Kevin Durant has a healthy Kyrie Irving by his side. In game 2 all of his supporting cast are putting up great numbers. Nets build up a 17 point lead, and go into the halftime with a comfortable 10 point cushion.
All KD had to do was play average, and he could have led his team to the win. However, the perennial playoff choker reared his head once again. Celtics’ defense makes Kevin Durant go 0-10 in the second half, and his turnovers spark a massive run that loses Nets the game. Kevin Durant shot 4-20 from the field. Celtics are 40-1 all time when having a 2-0 lead.
There’s no true way to know exactly how the Celtics vs Nets series will end, but it’s highly unlikely that Nets win 4 out of the next 5 games. If Nets don’t win a championship this year one glaring fact about Kevin Durant’s career will remain the same, he has never led a team to a championship. His only rings came when he joined Stephen Curry’s 73-9 bandwagon, and didn’t have to do much besides playing defense and scoring on single coverage.
Will this be the year Kevin Durant gets over the hump, or will this be another failed year for the Nets era?