Who Defended Durant the Best in Game 1? Surprisingly, It Was Nikola Mirotic

Back on April 7, Kevin Durant torched the Pelicans for 41 points on 16-for-26 shooting.

He did the majority of his damage against Jrue Holiday.

In the days leading up to Game 1 on Saturday night, one of the biggest questions discussed across the basketball world was, "Who is going to guard Durant?"

In somewhat of a surprise move, Alvin Gentry elected to give Nikola Mirotic the bulk of that responsibility.

And to the surprise of many, Mirotic actually did a solid job.

After rewatching the game and charting all of Durant's shots, here is how the 2017 Finals MVP fared against those who defended him and/or contested his shots:

-Nikola Mirotic -- 4-for-9 FG, 8 points
-Darius Miller -- 2-for-2 FG, 6 points (two 3-pointers late in the 3rd quarter)
-Jrue Holiday -- 2-for-2 FG, 6 points (two mid-range jumpers plus two free throws after drawing a foul)
-Solomon Hill -- 1-for-2 FG, 3 points (Durant missed the free throw on a 4-point play opportunity)
-Anthony Davis -- 0-for-2 FG (missed two pull-up 3-pointers in transition)

Additionally, Durant threw down a lob dunk when nobody was really defending him, and he was credited with clanking three shots after he missed a driving left-handed finger-roll plus two subsequent tip attempts (can't really attribute these misses to a specific player).

What about Durant's four turnovers? Glad you asked:

1) Durant tried to hit a rolling Andre Iguodala but Davis stole the pass.

2) Durant drove on Miller and tried to draw a foul but lost control of the ball.

The other two:

1) Durant drives baseline, Mirotic cuts him off and an off-balance Durant throws a telegraphed pass that is intercepted by Davis:

2) Durant tries to cross over on Mirotic and ends up dribbling the ball out of bounds:

Mirotic certainly didn't lock Durant up and one could argue that Durant bailed Mirotic out on several occasions.

But all-in-all, the numbers and eye test show that Mirotic held his own.

Good luck in Game 2, Niko...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us