(WMC-TV) - The biggest reason the Memphis Grizzlies stole a road win in Oklahoma City was Mr. Grit & Grind himself, Tony Allen. Allen's defensive effort didn't necessarily shut down likely league MVP Kevin Durant, but it did enough to take Durant out of the type of efficiency he's used to.
The league's most dangerous scorer put up 36 points, but shot only 12-28 from the floor. That 43 percent number is well below the 50.3 percent Durant shot over the regular season. When being guarded by Allen 1 on 1, Durant is shooting an even lower 31 percent (5-16).
So what makes Tony Allen such a good defender on Kevin Durant? It's definitely not length. Durant is listed at 6'9" but is known to under-report his height. He may be as tall as 7' but is likely around 6'11" in shoes. Allen is listed at 6'4" which gives him a huge length disadvantage. What Allen does well is play Durant tighter than any other player in the league. Durant isn't used to having his space invaded, and that's the key to Allen's game. He sticks on Durant's hip the whole game, making him uncomfortable by taking away his bubble.
Allen isn't perfect, he's prone to gamble on defense, and more times than not, his gambling pays off big. Allen is well aware that his risky defense could hurt the team, but in typical Tony Allen fashion - he doesn't care. He knows that he'll make more good plays than bad ones, and that any mistakes will get made up for very quickly.