Kevin Durant's Top 10 Clutch Shots of His NBA Career so Far
Durantula? The Servant? Or just KD?
There may have been an uproar over Kevin Durant’s nickname in recent years, but there’s one perfect moniker that surprisingly seems to have been forgotten—Kid Clutch.
The man is practically the living definition of “clutch.” However, according to Dictionary.com, “clutch” is more specifically defined as “dependable in crucial situations."
And, it’s safe to say that Durant is pretty dependable at closing games. After all, he is already getting a “Top 10” list of his most clutch shots at the young age of 25.
So why is he no longer referred to as Kid Clutch? Maybe it’s because he’s not a kid anymore. “Adult Clutch” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
What is certain is that he has compiled a large number of clutch highlights over the years. So without further ado, here are the best of those shots.
1. Avenging Russell Westbrook
Up until this game, Kevin Durant had played every game of his last three years with fellow superstar Russell Westbrook.
As a result, there was undoubtedly some vengeance behind this three-pointer that helped the Thunder regain the lead and the game.
This may not be a game-winner or a game-tying shot, but it certainly secured the win for the Thunder against a tough Chicago Bulls team.
And by “it,” I mean a one-legged turnaround fadeaway jumper.
As a testament to its difficulty, very few people can pull off the shot that Dirk Nowitzki has made his trademark move.
Thus, for being crazy enough to attempt the “Dirk shot” in a crucial situation and having the skills to actually make it, Durant gets props for this fadeaway.
10. Game-Winner Against the Whole Hawks Team
You know the other team is smart when they refuse to let KD beat them one-on-one by sending all five of their players after him.
You just know you’re better when you can still sink the game-winner right in front of their faces.
Kevin Durant’s shot capped off a 41-point Herculean effort against the Atlanta Hawks that pushed the Thunder to their eighth-straight victory. It also strengthened Durant's position as the MVP favorite at that point in the 2013-2014 season.
In the months that Russell Westbrook was out due to injury, Durant’s otherworldly play was what established the Thunder as the best in the West up until then.
9. Go-Ahead Basket Against the Grizzlies in Playoffs
In Game 1 of the 2013 Western Semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Thunder were down one point with 19 seconds left in the game. The Grizzlies had the ball, and their point guard Mike Conley blew by his Thunder defender Derek Fisher into the paint.
In less than eight seconds, the Thunder would be up by one and go on to win the first game of the playoff series.
All it took was one steal, and Kevin Durant took care of the rest. Never mind that out of all the team defenses in the league that year, the Grizzlies were ranked second.
Because as you know, Kevin Durant simply does not like the word “second.”
For Kid Clutch, another two was just business as usual.
8. Kevin vs. Kevin
Apparently, the number two also applies to the number of crazy game-changing shots Durant can hit in the same game.
After an intense four quarters, KD had the ball with 10 seconds left and the score tied at 113. His three-pointer that then put the Thunder up by three was inevitable.
The other Kevin was not to be outdone. Straight out of an out-of-bounds play, Love calmly drained a three-pointer of his own to send the game into overtime. He ended with 51 points.
Near the end of overtime, the Thunder found themselves in a bit of a problem down three points with 15 seconds left. Their answer?
None other than Kid Clutch again. In his 40-point and 17-rebound monstrosity of a game, Durant sent the game into double overtime after his swished three.
The Thunder would go on to win the game.
7. Kevin vs. Kevin, Part 2
It seems like the Timberwolves just can’t catch a break when they play against Durant.
However, this game earlier in the 2013-2014 season was a bit different than before.
Unlike those last two threes, Durant directly put the nail in the coffin in this game with his signature unstoppable move—a crossover into a step-back jumper. As the announcer said, that trademark shot is “impossible to block, impossible to defend.”
It also ended up being the game-winner, a sight that has been seen many times before.
It’s just something that the Timberwolves wish they would never have to see again.
6. Fadeaway Buzzer-Beater to Stun the Knicks
This one has style points all around. Sure, it may seem like a normal, run-of-the-mill game-winning three-pointer that Durant has more of than the number of actual NBA players on the 2014 Philadelphia Sixers roster.
But how many of those shots are flashy fadeaways that swish through the net just as the buzzer rings?
And how many of these buzzer-beating fadeaways end with Kevin Durant calmly walking away as if nothing just happened while the whole stadium erupts in a frenzy?
It may not be the most important shot of his career, but it’s undoubtedly one of his coolest.
Swaggy P would be proud.
5. Avenging Russell Westbrook, Part 2
KD sure loves his double-overtime thrillers.
In the third quarter, his super-sidekick Russell Westbrook was just taken out from the game after reinjuring his knee, evoking painful memories of what happened in the 2013 playoff series against the Rockets. His future, as well as the Thunder’s, was uncertain.
So Kevin Durant responded by scoring 51 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out seven assists.
Oh yeah. He also made the game-winning shot in double overtime.
It didn’t matter that the Thunder were down two with just under nine seconds left in the period. It didn’t matter that Russell Westbrook’s injury could’ve proven to be serious (luckily it wasn’t). And it certainly didn’t matter that shot-blocking Amir Johnson contested the shot superbly as Kevin Durant pulled up from well behind the arc.
Nothing was going to stop him.
4. Seattle SuperSonics Buzzer-Beater in Double Overtime
Perhaps this game was where the nickname “Kid Clutch” spawned.
Durant’s rookie campaign at the age of 19 was the only time he played as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics.
Surprisingly, he wasn’t the elite three-point bomber that we now know him as, shooting under 29 percent that season from behind the arc.
But for Durant and his team, that didn’t matter. Even during a tied game with 2.1 seconds left in double overtime, the SuperSonics still inbounded it to KD, who proceeded to rattle in a three while double-teamed.
It’s a good thing he didn’t leave his clutch factor in Seattle when the team moved to Oklahoma City the next year.
3. Bouncing Game-Winner in Playoffs Against Dallas
Everyone can use a bit of luck. Even a cold-blooded killer like Kevin Durant can attest to that.
With his team trailing by a single point in its first 2012 playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks, the defending NBA champions, Kevin Durant took the ball with nine seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Shawn Marion, an elite defender, was glued on him, so Durant had to work his magic. Rather than pulling up for a three-pointer, which was what Marion anticipated, Durant took him off the dribble.
He went to the right. He slowly spun around and dribbled to the middle. With great quickness, he pulled up and, over Marion’s outstretched arms, he launched a spectacular one-handed floater.
Of course, because Durant’s shooting touch is pretty much as smooth as silk, the ball bounced off the rim straight up into the backboard, which redirected the ball into the net.
Totally just like the Thunder planned.
With that game-winning shot, Durant led the Thunder to a sweep of the Mavericks and all the way to the NBA Finals.
Maybe KD didn’t eat his Wheaties that morning, but he sure didn’t forget about his Lucky Charms.
2. Closing out Kobe in the Playoffs
Kobe Bryant has long been considered as one of the best closers of all time. Even in 2012, many saw him as the most clutch player in the league.
But when he and the Los Angeles Lakers played against the Thunder in Game 4 of their 2012 playoff series, that title sure seemed like it belonged to the best player of the other team.
Following a costly turnover by Kobe, Durant dribbled the ball up with 20 seconds left and the game all tied up. Having to guard James Harden, all Kobe could do was watch as Durant sunk a textbook pull-up three to help the Thunder reclaim the lead.
But with 13.7 seconds left on the clock, that meant that Kobe could have a chance to tie the game. Indeed, he ended up with a decent look from behind the arc. The shot, however, clanked off the rim and the Thunder won the game and soon the series.
Now Kobe is entering the twilight of his career while Durant’s still sinking game-winners. It’s almost as if the clutch torch was symbolically passed down in the final sequence of that game. Whatever the case, it sure doesn’t seem like Durant has any plans to give up that title anytime soon.
1. Sending off the Proper Response to the Mavericks
In the final seconds of the game with the Dallas Mavericks down 99-101, Dirk Nowitzki drove into the paint. Drawing a double-team, he wisely found the open man at the three-point line and Vinsanity did the rest. The Mavericks were up by one point with 1.4 seconds left and were easily on pace to win the game.
Except Kevin Durant wasn’t going to have any of that—he was going to make some of his own insanity. Coming off a screen, Durant was open for a split second as the ball was inbounded to him. Fading away from a good four feet behind the three-point line, KD let it fly.
Just the sheer intensity of the moment makes it the most clutch shot he has taken up to this point.
That was also his first game-winning shot of the 2011-2012 season against the Mavericks. And unfortunately for the Mavs, it certainly did not end up being his last.