The U.S. slipped past a scrappy Russian squad 89-79 today behind a ho-hum 33 from Kevin Durant and 12 from Russell Westbrook. As pointed out to me via Twitter, the Thunder duo notched over half of Team USA’s total output. That’s pretty cool.
KD was absolutely fantastic, hitting 11-19 from the floor and basically carrying the U.S. to a win. Without Durant’s scoring ability, Team USA would have been in a lot of trouble. Westbrook keyed a third quarter run that basically put the game away. He was all over the place, flying in passing lanes, attacking the rim with no regard for his own well-being and dunking the ball on fast breaks. His energy fired up Team USA and was a major part in the win.
But one thing Fran Fraschilla pointed out during the game that I thought was a smart point: In international play thus far, we’ve seen KD play much more as a one-on-one player than we have during his time in the NBA. With Scott Brooks, Durant runs a lot off of high screens and pin-downs. He scores a lot in transition and a lot off cuts.
In fact, according to Synergy Sports, Durant had 634 isolation plays last season and scored on 45 percent of them. Twenty-five percent of Durant’s overall touches come on isolation. He had 204 plays on pick-and-roll plays, 253 on spot-ups, 404 coming off screens and 365 in transition. So yes, most of his plays came in isolation. But compare that to say, LeBron, Kobe, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony who are the other elite scorers Durant is compared with. Keep Reading…