“But Marge, the little guy hasn’t done anything yet. Look at him. He’s going to do something and you know it’s going to be good.”
Kevin Durant’s tenure with the Golden State Warriors evokes a memory of an old episode of The Simpsons. Homer, watching a mob war outside his home, protests as he is dragged inside by Marge. He has been watching a menacing mobster who so far has not participated in the melee, and he’s seen enough action movies to know that something awesome is about to happen.
The Warriors did not sign Kevin Durant with the expectation that he would match his MVP production from 2014, or improve on their NBA record for wins in 2016. KD is there to watch calmly as the rest of his super team builds a lead and runs the Cavaliers into the ground, before calmly stepping in and setting fire to whatever remains.
That’s exactly what Durant did to finish game three. LeBron and Kyrie used every ounce of their energy and talent to claw their way back into the game, playing 45 and 44 minutes, respectively, while KD quietly put together a solid but unspectacular game, and managed to rest for longer stretches than the two Cleveland stars.
Durant then exploded in the fourth, scoring 14 points on just six shots, and as he pulled up for the final dagger 3-pointer to put the Warriors ahead for good he looked like he had just finished his pregame warm-up drills, and not four quarters of elite-level basketball.
Fans and pundits speculated endlessly after the Durant signing about how he would fit in, and some even questioned – no kidding! – whether it would hurt the Warriors as a team. In the end, he didn’t need a certain share of the shots or touches, or to play in his preferred system. Durant just needed to stay fresh and be ready to finish the job. Last night, the Slim Reaper did just that.