Feature: The 12th Man

Daily Five: Kevin Durant's Defense Has Improved Immensley

Author: Patrick Hayes
Published: January 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Each day, we'll take a quick look at five of the most important stories going on in the NBA.

The Baseline: "With the Wizards on the brink of a fire sale and holding several contracts that could make a deal work, it makes sense that they'd be able to work out a deal for McGrady. The issue for Houston, though, is whether or not they think Butler is a good enough secondary star to pair with Yao. The expiring deals would allow them to pick up another player in free agency, but with Yao's health now a continual question mark, the Rockets' window is closing."

NY Daily News: "The Knicks were afraid, very afraid. And it had nothing to do with the Oklahoma City Thunder. For two days, several players had trouble sleeping because they were convinced that their downtown hotel is haunted. "I definitely believe it," Jared Jeffries said. "The place is haunted. It's scary."

Britt Robson: "But Durant has made that a moot debate this season. By any measure, the guy has suddenly become a stalwart individual and team defender. For those who prefer visual evidence, consider Monday's game against the Knicks. In one sequence, Durant left his man, Danilo Gallinari, to intercept a pass on the wing, only to discover that he'd fallen for a fake and the pass was going to Gallinari for a three-pointer in the corner. He stopped in his tracks, wheeled around and leaped, up and sidewise, far enough to block Gallinari's quick-release jumper. Gallinari, who came into the game averaging 14.5 points, was shut out (on 0-for-7 shooting) in 32 minutes."

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