Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Kevin Durant is back to being the most unguardable player in the NBA

When Kevin Durant is fully healthy, he's one of the greatest scorers to ever step foot on a basketball court. There's no arguing that.

The 32-year-old made his return to the floor this season after missing all of last season to rehab a torn Achilles suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals and it wasn't always smooth sailing. While he was his usual, dominant self whenever he suited up, the superstar forward did miss 37 games of action due to various injuries, leaving his overall health in question heading into the postseason.

After leading his Brooklyn Nets to a commanding five-game gentleman's sweep over the Boston Celtics, one thing has become abundantly clear: Durant is back to being the most unstoppable, unguardable player in the NBA.

In Game 4, KD was surgical in carving up the Celtics' defence for 42 points on 14-for-20 shooting from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 11-for-11 from the free throw line.

Boston tried a number of different players and strategies to disrupt Durant, but every effort was to no avail. The near-7-footer was picking and choosing his spots, shooting right over the top of any opponent, no matter how tightly contested the shot was.

Shot clock winding down with his back to the hoop, 20 feet away from the basket and Grant Williams right up on him? Bucket.

Coming off of a screen with Jayson Tatum, Romeo Langford and Marcus Smart surrounding him? Didn't matter.

Tristan Thompson's 7-foot-1 wingspan outstretched in his face? No match for his patented pull-up 3 from the top of the key.

Smothered by Jabari Parker on the baseline, forced to take a shot practically behind the backboard? Still got it.

That game was nothing new for the four-time scoring champion, who has averaged a 32.6 points per game while shooting 54.6 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from 3 and 91.5 percent from the free throw line without (seemingly) breaking a sweat.

Of Durant's nine previous postseason appearances, he has led the entire playoffs in scoring average five times, and he is well on his way to doing so a sixth time. His career playoff scoring average of 29.2 points per game is third-most in NBA history to only Allen Iverson (29.7 PPG) and Michael Jordan (33.5 PPG).

So it is well documented that Durant is capable of tapping into another level of prolific scoring when the stakes are at their highest, but his efficiency in doing so is something that has only been seen once before... from the man himself.

The list of players in NBA history to average 30-plus points on 50-40-90 shooting splits for more than just one series in the playoffs: Kevin Durant with the Golden State Warriors in 2019.

That's it. That's the end of the list.

And while MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic has a chance to join him in that criteria this postseason (he is currently averaging 33.0 points on .528/.429/.917 shooting splits through one playoff series), Durant is chasing his own previous body of work in an elite, sharpshooting playoff club of his own.

The ease at which he's scoring is giving off a very similar feel to that of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, where Durant torched the LA Clippers and the Houston Rockets, well on his way to what could have been a third-consecutive NBA title and Finals MVP if not for the devastating injury.

Looking fully recovered from any ailments we saw throughout the 2020-21 regular season, Kevin Durant is once again staking his claim as the most unstoppable player in the NBA.

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