Philadelphia’s James Anderson put on an impressive performance Saturday night, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop NBA stud Kevin Durant.
Durant was 12 for 17 from the floor and 1 of 4 from three-point range. His 32 points were one point above his season average and his 10th straight game with 30 or more points. With Durant’s numbers being so impressive, Anderson’s team-high 19 points and five rebounds may have gone unnoticed.
Sixers fan should take note that the fourth-year guard is coming into his own. Anderson is averaging personal highs in points and rebounds, with 10.1 and 3.9 respectively.
That stat line would lead one to question who was guarding the Thunder’s superstar. But Sixers coach Brett Brown thought James Anderson played pretty good defense despite Durant’s incredible numbers.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on him. We tried,” Brown said. “We have small guys who were chasing him around and denying him and fronting him and we have everyone scared because he is Kevin Durant. He is so long and scores in such a variety of ways. He is the NBA’s hardest player.
“I thought James [Anderson] was great, but you blink and look down and he has a triple double.”
Anderson spent the bulk of the evening trying to slow down the league’s leading scorer. With defense being a serious concern, it makes sense that Durant had a triple-double. Philadelphia’s defense isn’t lacking quickness or intensity, but size.
“I don’t know what kind of good job that was,” Anderson said. “I tried anything I could, sticking to the game plan and guarding him the way they wanted me to guard him.”
Durant toyed with the basic defense and hardly missed, throwing down dunks and knocking down easy buckets in the paint, and looked every bit like an All-Star.
“Everybody’s scared because he’s Kevin Durant and he scores in such a variety of ways,” Brown said. “He is the NBA’s hottest player. He’s always been an incredibly difficult guard. You blink and he’s got a triple-double.”
“I think James continues to get better in a bunch of ways,” Brown said. “He is a prideful defender. He was drafted out of Oklahoma State primarily as a scorer, not a shooter, a scorer. I think he is growing into being able to catch and go with it putting the ball on the floor, whereas before he was more of a catch, shot guy.
“I think he is a highly underrated defensive player. He would rank in the top 20 guards rebounding wise in the NBA and there is an improvement level that he is making quietly and incrementally. He is a soft-spoken man and a wonderful teammate.”
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