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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Palmore

Kevin Durant Needs to Outplay Giannis Antetokounmpo Tonight

Kevin Durant vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been one of the NBA's best individual matchups ever since Durant left the Golden State Warriors and went to the Eastern Conference. However, it feels like ever since game five of the 2021 conference semi-finals matchup between the two teams, Giannis has had Durant's number. Durant and Antetokounmpo have matched up against each other 13 times since KD's move to Brooklyn and Giannis' team came out on top in 9 of those 13 matchups.

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In the last five matchups between the Nets and Bucks in which both Kevin Durant and Giannis have played, Giannis has won the last five matchups and has averaged 35.4 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Durant has more than held his own in these matchups putting up 33.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 6.2 assists. However, with all the debates surrounding who the best player in the world is, many people point to Durant being better because of his overall skillset. However, it has been apparent that in the biggest moments of these matchups, Giannis has been the one coming up with the big plays in the biggest moments.

For instance, in the most recent matchup between the two superstars, Giannis and the Bucks beat Brooklyn 120-119 in overtime after Giannis scored 44 points and became the Bucks' all-time leading scorer. Antetokounmpo also had to play the final minutes of the fourth quarter and the entire overtime period without Khris Middleton after he got ejected for a flagrant two foul against Bruce Brown. The signature play of the game was Giannis hitting a three pointer to tie the game at 110 with around 20 seconds left. Following that shot, Durant had a chance to hit a game winner, but missed it.

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Durant has actually missed quite a few buzzer beating opportunities against Giannis and the Bucks, including one in overtime of game seven that was not even close. Durant air-balled his final shot attempt of the game and in that overtime period, he scored 0 points on 0/6 shooting from the floor. Giannis and the Bucks never looked back and went on to win the 2021 NBA Finals.

Giannis has repeatedly said that he believes Kevin Durant is the best basketball player in the world and has always shown nothing but respect and gratitude for a player that he looked up to growing up in Kevin Durant. Giannis will never say it, but there is an argument to be made that he is better than Kevin Durant right now based on the matchups between the Bucks and the Nets over the years that have gone in Milwaukee's favor. The Nets and the Bucks play again tonight in Milwaukee and Giannis looks to win his sixth in a row against Durant, and KD will look to remind people that there is an argument for him to be the best player in the world.

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