Dani Avdija practicing three-point shots/From Neil Dalal's Twitter account
History was made Friday night at Phoenix Arena, where Suns star Kevin Durant surpassed Moses Malone to move up to tenth on the NBA's all-time scoring chart. Unfortunately, his 30 points tonight weren't enough and the Arizona team surrendered at home 119-111 to defending champion Denver.
Durant now stands at 27,423 points in his 1,003rd regular-season game, and now his next target is ninth place, where Carmelo Anthony stands with 28,289. "It's a long journey to be in this place, alongside these names," Durant said of the achievement, "It takes a lot of work, preparation, and people to help you get to this moment." LeBron James, who famously leads the all-time chart, was quick to congratulate on Twitter, and now the two veteran forwards are the only active players in the top ten.
A fairy tale to a legend
Peyton Watson is humble
In the game itself, Durant had to deal without the other two Big 3 sides — Devin Booker and Bradley Beal — and Yusuf Nurkic's 31 points didn't help, either. The Nuggets themselves came in with a partial lineup without Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon, but that allowed them to discover a surprising hero who made Durant miserable on defense — Peyton Watson.
The second-year player rarely got minutes during the championship season, but with the departure of Bruce Brown in the summer, space became available and he entered Mike Malone's rotation. Durant opened the game 4-of-4 from the field, but once Watson came off the bench, everything changed. In the plays in which Watson guarded Durant, he stopped him on 0-of-14 from the field (8-of-25 overall) and caused him to lose the ball three times.
So what is the secret of Watson's magic? The forward, who also scored 8 points, said: "It's all about watching it for so many years. He was one of my basketball heroes growing up. Anything I can learn from to improve and bring to my game, I take. When I play against him, it's like watching his highlights again when I was a kid. I'm doing my best, you can't completely paralyze him, he's one of the greatest of all time, I've done what I can."
- More on the subject:
- Denver Nuggets
- Kevin Durant
- Phoenix Suns