Bully-ball is making a comeback in the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks’ second-round matchup.
Throughout the Eastern Conference semifinals, PJ Tucker has resided on Kevin Durant’s hip. The tenacious forward has been blowing up any ball screen, post-up or isolation set designed for Durant to operate within.
Tucker and Durant are longtime friends off-the-court as their Texas Longhorns connection runs deep. However, when the two step out onto the court together, everything goes out the window.
While Durant posted 28 points in the Nets’ 96-107 loss to the Bucks on Sunday, he shot just 9-for-25 from the field and 1-8 from the 3-point line. As his primary defender, Tucker held Durant to 9 points and 25 percent shooting from the field.
That being said, Nets head coach Steve Nash had choice words for the way in which Milwaukee’s defensive enforcer has been guarding KD throughout the series.
“I thought it was borderline non-basketball physical at times, but that’s the playoffs,” Nash said.
What are your thoughts on PJ Tucker’s defense this series against Kevin Durant? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/5b9Jr9BiYI
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 13, 2021
Throughout the game, Durant pleaded with officials about what he deemed to be excessive contact by Tucker.
Durant is universally recognized as one of the best scorers in the modern era, which gardeners a plethora of defensive attention, especially with 2018 NBA MVP James Harden in street clothes and the loss of seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving (who went down with a sprained ankle late in the second quarter).
Tucker is averaging 3.4 personal fouls per game during the series and accumulated five while guarding Durant last night.
How many calls were missed is still up for debate.