Tatum is dominating Durant on defense, and these stats prove it


Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has made life miserable for Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant in their first-round NBA playoff series, and Wednesday night's Game 2 was a prime example.

Durant scored 27 points, but 18 of them came at the free throw line. He shot just 4-for-17 from the field, including a dreadful 0-for-10 showing in the second half as the Celtics earned a 114-107 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

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Tatum's defense was one of the primary reasons why Durant shot so poorly in Game 2. The Celtics star spent more than 10 minutes guarding Durant and limited him to just four points and zero made field goals.

Tatum becoming a top two-way star in the league has been quite impressive. His scoring ability receives a lot of praise, and rightly so after he averaged a career-high 26.9 points per game during the regular season, but the biggest improvement in his game has come on the defensive end of the floor.

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Being able to lock up a top 15 player of all time in Durant and make him look so pedestrian in back-to-back playoff games is a huge accomplishment. Not every elite scorer makes that kind of impact on defense, but Tatum absolutely does.

Durant is shooting just 30 percent with 12 turnovers through the first two games. His surprisingly bad performances are the biggest reason why the Nets are returning to Brooklyn still searching for their first win of the series.

The Celtics will make this series a short one if Durant doesn't show massive improvement offensively. And it's going to be a tough challenge for him. Boston's defense is the best in the league, and whether it's Tatum, Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown, Durant is going to have a top-tier defender in his face all series.

Note: Games 3-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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