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“What Am I Supposed to Do?” – Austin Reaves on Guarding Kevin Durant

© Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Reaves and the Lakers had no answer for Suns’ star Kevin Durant last night, especially in the second quarter. The Suns defeated the Lakers 123-100 in each team’s final preseason game.

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In Durant’s first game against LeBron James since 2018, he finished with 21 points, four rebounds and two assists. Durant missed his first six shots of the game, but made his last eight to finish 8-of-14 from the floor. Sixteen of his points came in the second quarter.

Reaves and Durant only met one time before, on Nov. 13 of last season (2022) when Durant was still on the Nets. The Lakers won this game 116-103, but Durant had 31 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Reaves had 15 points and three assists.

During last night’s game, Durant looked at the Lakers’ bench and said, “Don’t have him guard me next week,” in reference to Reaves. He also hit Reaves with the “too small” gesture at the end of the first half after scoring over him.

Reaves was asked about the interaction after the game

“Any time you have someone as talented as KD on the court, it’s cool for me to just watch in the moments,” Reaves said. “He hit the mid-range fadeaway on me at the end of the half and then did the ‘too small’ (celebration). We were talking during one of the timeouts, and he told J.O., one of our coaches, ‘Don’t have him guard me next week.’ I was like, ‘Bro, what am I supposed to do?’ You’ve done this for about, I don’t know how many years he’s been in the league. I mean, you can’t block it. You can’t really contest because he leans back and (in his) natural shooting motion, he kicks his leg out a little bit. So, if you really contest it’s a foul. So, it’s a problem.

“But like I said, any time you share the floor with anyone of that caliber, and then obviously going to war every night with (LeBron James). It’s just good for those two to be on the court together. Like you said, they’ve competed against each other in Finals for a long time now, so you got to appreciate those moments because both of them won’t play forever.”

The Lakers and Suns will meet again next Thursday night for each team’s second regular season game, so we will see if Reaves gets another crack at guarding Durant.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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