Kevin Durant put the finishing touches on last night's road win over the Phoenix Suns by posterizing Marcin Gortat with a slam that even Gortat admitted was amazing. Gortat responded with perhaps the quote of the year, and I cannot help but like the guy even more for taking on this attitude about what it all means.
"Well first of all, I was looking for my car keys under the basket," Gortat said. "I was trying to find my car keys because I lost them over there, so I was just looking for it. And Michael Beasley is going to get Krispy Kremes for the rest of the season for sure for me.
"It happens. The funny thing is that when [Kendrick] Perkins was standing under the basket he looked at me and I looked at him, and he said, ‘I know how it feels.’ He said, ‘Guards left you on the island, huh?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’
"Listen, it happens. I am not going to deny that was probably the top three dunks of the year, right? I mean at least I am going to be out there. I mean, I am just going to try to be silly about it. I am not going to cry. It is just part of the game.
"When he took off off one foot, I didn’t even lift my hands up, I already knew what was going to happen. I just tried to get out of the picture, or at least smile. It was bad defense, and then bad rotation, bad help. You can’t do anything."
The slam further accentuates what Durant is trying to accomplish this season - to not only have no weaknesses in any aspect of his game, but also to terrorize his opponents to such a degree that they end up over-thinking plays, which gives Durant an additional leg up on his competition. As we saw in last year's Finals, every step, even an incremental one, matters.
The message sent to the rest of the league with this play is, "I can do this to you if I choose." The reaction from opponents is probably something like, "I'd prefer you not do that to me, so I'm not going to give you the drive." At which point Durant fakes the drive and then steps back and drains open jump shots ad infinitum.
When a defender knows what Durant is going to do, he has a fair shot of at least making Durant's attempt more difficult. However, if the defender has NO idea what Durant is going to do, it means that Durant can finally address the remaining weakness in his offensive game - his occasional struggle to get to the spots on the court he wants.
As Omar once said, "It's all in the game, yo."