MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant turned in the most efficient offensive performance of his career on Wednesday night, going 12-for-13 from the field in a 118-103 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
“The game’s easy for Kevin,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It just is. I don’t think there’s ever been anybody as skilled at his size in the history of the league, so he just does whatever he wants.”
Durant repeatedly did whatever he wanted against the Grizzlies, hitting from all over the floor, while adding nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 35 minutes of play. He finished the night a game-high +30 and is now 17-for-19 over his past two games.
Durant acknowledged that this was the best shooting performance of his career while noting that efficiency became a focus of his during the second year of his career as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“2009,” Durant said. “My second year in the league. I started charting my shots and makes and misses throughout the game. That kind of reminded me to take good shots and it keeps me locked in on the flow of the game. So I guess it’s a game within a game.”
Durant’s efficiency left both his teammates and coaches in awe on Wednesday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “He made all the right decisions. I know we had a couple turnovers as a team but just reading the situation, letting the game come to him. We obviously know he can put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the court, but just picking and choosing his spots, knocking down shots, it’s what he does.”
After taking just six shots in Sunday’s win over the Detroit Pistons, Durant picked his spots throughout Wednesday’s game and found a rhythm early, going 7-for-7 in the first half and helping the Warriors close out the game late.
“He does whatever he wants each game,” Kerr said. “I felt like he could have been 24-for-25 if he wanted, but he was distributing the ball and trying to get everybody involved. He was brilliant. … Kevin is who he is. He’s one of the most efficient players ever. He can get any shot he wants against any defense. So regardless of how somebody is playing us he can go get a shot and it’s a good shot.”
Durant’s only miss came in the fourth quarter on a play during which he thought he was fouled. He voiced his displeasure to the officials for a few moments, but after the game conceded that he could have been a better look.
“I talked to [official] Kenny [Mauer] about that,” Durant said. “He said the guy was just standing there. He probably was, but I should have shot a better shot.”
To put Durant’s performance in better historical context, Warriors great Chris Mullin has the highest field goal percentage in franchise history, with a minimum of 10 shots, going 11-for-11 in a game during the 1990-91 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Lester Conner went 10-for-10 during a game in the 1984-85 season, and Wilt Chamberlain went 18-for-19 in a game in the 1963-64 season.
Durant’s performance offers another reminder of just how dominant the Warriors can be when the offense is clicking.
“When you’re a scorer like that, an all-time great scorer, it opens up a lot of things,” Curry said. “Because there’s a lot of attention on you on the floor. With the weapons we have on this team, him being able to just never be in a rush, finding the open guy and trust that we’re going to get an open shot, and on the back end we can try to create for him as well. That chemistry when we’re all the way dialed in, it’s hard to stop. Over the last couple weeks his game has changed from night to night just on what he sees and how he feels, and it’s been impactful.”
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