Is the best player in the NBA title between Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant?

By Sports Desk May 13, 2019

Kawhi Leonard's performances in the NBA playoffs this season, as well as the solid ones in the pre-season, have begged the question about whether or not he is the best player in the NBA. A certain Kevin Durant comes up for mention as well. The zone team looks at these two phenomenal basketball players.

Related items

  • Kobe Bryant dead: Kyrgios warms up in Lakers great's jersey before Nadal clash Kobe Bryant dead: Kyrgios warms up in Lakers great's jersey before Nadal clash

    Nick Kyrgios paid tribute to Kobe Bryant before his Australian Open fourth-round clash with Rafael Nadal on Monday.

    The Australian, a huge basketball fan, wore a Los Angeles Lakers jersey with the number eight Bryant made famous to begin his career.

    A visibly emotional Kyrgios received a fine ovation as he entered Rod Laver Arena in the jersey.

    Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

    The sporting world celebrated and mourned Bryant after his shock death.

    Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were among the football stars paying their respects, while the NBA world mourned Bryant's passing.

  • Zion, Lillard and Leonard offer light on dark day for NBA Zion, Lillard and Leonard offer light on dark day for NBA

    The NBA came together to mourn and honour Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on a solemn Sunday.

    Though all eight games went ahead as scheduled, a dark shadow clouded the on-court action after Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, 13-year-old Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California around 10am local time.

    Games across the league began with intentional 24-second violations as players recognised the number Bryant wore throughout the second half of his illustrious career, a number Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team would never use again.

    Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young took to the floor in the number eight jersey the five-time NBA champion adopted following his arrival at the Lakers in 1996 and proceeded to do him proud, dropping 45 points and 14 assists in a 152-133 win over the Washington Wizards.

    "One of the last conversations we had, he was just telling me how much he's seen my game progress, being happy for me, saying how proud he was of me and how he wants me to continue to be a role model for kids growing up," an emotional Young later told a news conference.

    The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Toronto Raptors 110-106 but head coach Gregg Popovich summed up the mood, telling reporters: "Good game. Tough loss. Who cares? Everyone's pretty emotional with the tragedy about Kobe."

    Zion reflects after major milestone

    Amid the mourning emerged some uplifting performances befitting one of the league's greatest ever scorers.

    Zion Williamson marked his third NBA appearance with a first double-double, the number one overall draft pick contributing 21 points and 11 rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans' 123-108 victory against the Boston Celtics.

    "Kobe meant a lot to me growing up. I had both jerseys, the eight and the 24," Williamson said. "It's tough. I was on the way to the arena when I got the news. I just send my prayers to his family."

    Damian Lillard became the first player in Portland Trail Blazers history to score 40 or more points in three successive games, the point guard hitting 50 on 14-of-23 shooting in a 139-129 win over the Indiana Pacers.

    Kawhi Leonard put up a game-high 31 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Orlando Magic 112-97.

    "I know he would have wanted him me to come out here and try to ball and still just be great," he told ESPN. "That's what I tried to do. Everybody is sad."

    Kyrie sits out

    Madison Square Garden, where Bryant memorably scored 61 points in a single game in 2009, dimmed its lights and fell silent before the Brooklyn Nets' 110-97 loss to the New York Knicks.

    Kyrie Irving was a notable absentee, the Nets guard having shared a close relationship with his former mentor.

    Another of the NBA's new generation of stars, Ben Simmons, said the world had "lost a legend".

    "Kobe Bryant was someone who I looked up to, a fierce competitor, a champion, an icon," Simmons tweeted.

     

    Respects paid in New Orleans

    The Pelicans and the Celtics were among the teams who each took 24-second violations to honour Bryant.

    Sunday's results

    Denver Nuggets 117-110 Houston Rockets
    Toronto Raptors 110-106 San Antonio Spurs
    Atlanta Hawks 152-133 Washington Wizards
    Memphis Grizzlies 114-109 Phoenix Suns
    New Orleans Pelicans 123-108 Boston Celtics
    New York Knicks 110-97 Brooklyn Nets
    Los Angeles Clippers 112-97 Orlando Magic
    Portland Trail Blazers 139-129 Indiana Pacers

     

    Rockets at Jazz

    Monday brings the chance to focus on a big game in the Western Conference, with the second-placed Utah Jazz (32-13) to host the sixth-placed Houston Rockets (28-17).

  • Kobe Bryant dead: His final NBA game by the numbers Kobe Bryant dead: His final NBA game by the numbers

    Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Byrant died suddenly in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

    Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash, with seven other reported casualties.

    Tributes for five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant have poured in across all sports.

    After Bryant's shock passing, we look back at his memorable farewell appearance against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016, which capped a glittering 20-year career.

     

    60 - Bryant's final point total. No player in the NBA scored as many as the Lakers guard did in one game throughout that season.

    50 - The amount of shooting attempts by Bryant, who eclipsed Michael Jordan's record of 49 shots against the Orlando Magic in 1993. Bryant took 15 more shots than the rest of his team-mates combined.

    16 - Unassisted points recorded. Bryant took control in his Hollywood goodbye - his final seven baskets coming without an assist.

    18 - Contested shots made. Bryant nailed 18 of 40 shots with a defender within 3.5 feet against the Jazz.

    22 - Points scored by Bryant in the paint. Having great success with layups, he also finished six-of-21 from three-point range.

    13 - Unanswered points posted in the final two minutes in LA. The Lakers trailed by 10 points with 2:36 remaining before Bryant sparked and completed the rally.

    2 - Turnovers committed in a remarkable outing. Bryant took care of the ball, despite his record amount of shooting attempts.

    4 - Assists tallied by 'the Black Mamba'. Jordan Clarkson was the main beneficiary as he received three dimes from Bryant.

    0 - Shots made in the first six minutes of the game as nerves troubled Bryant in the opening exchanges. He missed his first five shots.

    7 - It had been seven years since Bryant's previous 60-point game - the 18-time All-Star going off with 61 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in 2009.

    18,997 - Fans in attendance for Bryant's farewell at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.