Sport Kevin Durant out-duels Giannis Antetokounmpo in Warriors’ win over Bucks

14:11  13 january  2018
14:11  13 january  2018 Source:   San Francisco Chronicle

Durant to sit out vs. Rockets with calf strain

  Durant to sit out vs. Rockets with calf strain Kevin Durant will miss Thursday's Golden State Warriors matchup with the Houston Rockets due to a right calf strain, the team announced. Durant played 38 minutes in Wednesday's win over the Dallas Mavericks, scoring 25 points. His absence Thursday subtracts even more from an early-season showdown between the West's top two teams - Rockets guard James Harden is also out with a hamstring injury.Golden State is 4-1 this season without Durant.Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Golden State Warriors ' Kevin Durant drives past Milwaukee Bucks ' Eric Bledsoe during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. However, that may be where the parallels between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo stop.

Golden State Warriors ' Kevin Durant drives past Milwaukee Bucks ' Eric Bledsoe during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. However, that may be where the parallels between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo stop.

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a three point shot by Draymond Green #23 during the second half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on January 12, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.© Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a three point shot by Draymond Green #23 during the second half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on January 12, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MILWAUKEE — The similarities are obvious: They’re both elite-scoring forwards with freakish wingspans, modest dispositions and global popularity.

However, that may be where the parallels between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo stop. The two don’t just have contrasting playing styles. In leading the Warriors to a 108-94 win Friday night over the Bucks at the Bradley Center, Durant showed why he is still the more complete player.

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Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo show off all the skills, but it is KD who posts a game-high 26 points and the Warriors who outscore the Bucks by 16 in the fourth quarter for the win .

Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo show off all the skills, but it is KD who posts a game-high 26 points and the Warriors who outscore the Bucks by 16 in the fourth quarter for the win .

BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 108, BUCKS 94

With Warriors point guard Stephen Curry again sidelined by a sprained right ankle, Durant posted a game-high 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. His defense helped anchor a group that held the Bucks to 36-for-85 (42.4 percent) shooting, including 5-for-20 (25 percent) in the fourth quarter.

Though Antetokounmpo (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one block) stuffed the stat sheet, he was hampered by foul trouble. Golden State outscored Milwaukee by 15 points in the 36 minutes he spent on the floor.

“Having a guy like that who ups your level of play definitely helps you as a basketball player,” Durant said. “I appreciate times like this.”

Much of the past two weeks, the Warriors’ potent offense has largely overshadowed a lagging defense. The team touched down in Milwaukee having surrendered an average of 118 points over its previous six games. But with the game hanging in the balance late Friday, Golden State strung together enough stops to exorcise the memory of Wednesday’s 125-106 loss to the Clippers.

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Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo show off all the skills, but it is KD who posts a game-high 26 points and the Warriors who outscore the Bucks by 16 in the fourth quarter for the win .

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 23 points to lead the Bucks . Durant had 17 first-half points to help Golden State build its 63-49 halftime lead. With Curry out , the Warriors instead focused on driving to the hoop and gave the Bucks fits at time with cutters.

After letting the Bucks within 94-90 with 3:11 left, the Warriors closed the game on a 14-4 run. Durant drilled two jumpers — an 18-footer with 2:49 remaining, then a 27-foot three-pointer 30 seconds later — to send fans filing toward the exits. Draymond Green (21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) flirted with a triple-double on a night Golden State shot 55 percent from the field.

“Our defense was great for three of the four quarters,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s the thing with playing a switch-heavy defense. You have to stay aggressive, and there is a tendency to become a little passive and get caught off guard.”

Durant’s affinity for Antetokounmpo is well chronicled. In a YouTube comment last summer, Durant wrote that it is “guaranteed” Antetokounmpo will win an MVP someday. In October, during a Q&A on his official YouTube channel, Durant said that Antetokounmpo “could end up being the best player to ever play if he really wanted to. That’s pretty scary to think about. He’s by far my favorite player to watch.”

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Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo leads All-Star balloting after the first 12 days of the fan vote.? "It's no disrespect," Warriors forward Kevin Durant told ESPN, "but we're not coming in every day saying we're just thinking about.

dfavale July 25, 2017 Dan Favale No Comments on Giannis Antetokounmpo Defends Kevin Durant Joining Warriors , Which Is…Bad for Bucks Fans(?)

It was Durant’s way of empowering the NBA’s next big superstar. Now in his 11th season of a surefire Hall-of-Fame career, he wants to make sure the league will be in good care once he retires. In the meantime, however, Durant isn’t above schooling Antetokounmpo when presented the opportunity.

Midway through the second quarter, Durant saw Antetokounmpo over-guarding him along the perimeter. Durant stopped, laced the ball through his legs and dribbled hard to his right, sending Antetokounmpo soaring, before he knifed down the baseline for a one-handed dunk.

Perhaps most startling was that Milwaukee, which leans on Antetokounmpo as much as any franchise relies on a single player, was at its best after Antetokounmpo headed to the bench with his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. Feasting on a mix of drives and wide-open three-pointers, the Bucks closed the period on a 17-7 run to seize an 82-80 lead.

With less than five minutes left and the Warriors up 92-86, Milwaukee head coach Jason Kidd kept Antetokounmpo in after he was whistled for his fifth foul. Moments later, when he drilled a sky hook, a chant rained down from behind the Bucks’ basket: “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!”

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As questions swirled about his future with the Bucks , Giannis Antetokounmpo tweeted that loyalty was in his DNA. But Kevin Durant also said he was loyal to the Thunder before leaving for the Warriors .

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It was Durant, however, who added another bullet point to his burgeoning MVP candidacy. With Curry out the past two games, Durant has needed only 38 shots to score 66 points. Now, with the rough end of a back-to-back set looming Saturday in Toronto, Curry appears poised to return.

“I’m sure KD loves Giannis’ game, but at the same time, when they’re comparing you, you want to make sure everyone knows who’s who,” said center Zaza Pachulia, who was with the Bucks for Antetokounmpo’s first two seasons. “That’s how I look at it from the outside. KD did a great job today.”

Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: cletourneau@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Con_Chron

Saturday’s game

Who: Warriors (34-9) at Raptors (29-11)

When: 4:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: NBCSBA/95.7

Related Slideshow: Best of the 2017-18 NBA Season (provided by photo services)


The Best NBA All-Star Game Picks .
On Thursday, the NBA will announce its 2018 All-Star game starters. LeBron James. This will be James' 14th All-Star selection, which will tie him with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. On the grand list of James' career accomplishments, it will go down as merely a footnote. Still, his longevity and consistency has been unlike anything we've ever seen in this league. In his 15th season, James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.8 assists and shooting 55.7 percent from the field. The Cavaliers, despite their recent slump, are once again one of the top teams in the East.

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