Though not everyone approved of Kevin Durant’s Vader-like turn to the dark side in the summer of 2016, it’s hard not to admire how he’s changed himself as a player to suit the Golden State Warriors‘ needs. Without a shot-blocking center on the roster, he’s become the team’s main deterrent at the rim. A season ago he averaged a career-high 1.6 blocks per game. This year he’s swatting 2.2 attempts per contest, and is second in the league in total blocks at 54. But with the responsibility of blocking tries at the rim comes the burden of posterization—not every potential block ends how you want it to.
On Monday night, Durant was reminded of that over and over again, as the Los Angeles Lakers lined up to take turns dunking all over the 2014 MVP in front of Kobe Bryant, who was on hand to see his jerseys get retired.
A trio of young Lakers elevated beyond the considerable reach of Durant for dazzling dunks—the most demoralizing of which belonged to Larry Nance Jr., who has experience with this sort of thing.
ICYMI: Larry Nance Jr. baptised Kevin Durant in the name of the father, the son, and the Russell Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/2ttypUJ4m2
— Per Sources (@PerSources) December 19, 2017
Julius Randle got the dunkathon festivities started in the first quarter, when he went chest-to-chest with Durant.
— NBA (@NBA) December 19, 2017
Soon after that, it was a little(r) guy’s turn—Jordan Clarkson banged it on Durant in transition.
Kobe’s impressed with Jordan Clarkson’s dunk 👏 pic.twitter.com/ayYsBHE4X8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 19, 2017
The internet had jokes.
— J’Ron Erby (@Jron_Erby) December 19, 2017
Here is a picture of Kevin Durant after Julius Randle smashed him into the ground with that monster dunk! pic.twitter.com/gc8ydnd4LT
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) December 19, 2017
Durant would get the last laugh, though, hitting a game-winner over Lonzo Ball in overtime for a 116-114 victory.
Kevin Durant hits the game-winner in OT over Lonzo Ball! pic.twitter.com/YajhpAb5PG
— DRK Sports (@drksportsnews) December 19, 2017
“That was for Kobe Night,” Durant said of his winner. “I had to get them up for Kob.”