Kendrick Perkins says Kevin Durant got 'punked' by Celtics in Game 1

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Did Durant get 'punked' by Celtics in Game 1? Perk shares strong take originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kevin Durant entered Sunday averaging 29.5 points over 151 playoff games. He's one of the greatest postseason performers in NBA history.

But the Boston Celtics brought out a very different side of KD in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets.

Boston limited Durant to 23 points on 37.5% (9 for 24) shooting. He made just 1 of 5 3-pointers and committed six turnovers. According to Basketball Reference's "Game Score" metric, Sunday was Durant's fifth-worst postseason game ever and his worst since Game 1 of the Oklahoma City Thunder's first-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks in 2016.

So, what caused Durant's historic struggles? Former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins believes Boston's defense deserves a lot of credit.

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"KD got punked yesterday," Perkins said Monday on ESPN's "First Take." "I haven't seen this Kevin Durant in a long time. When I look at what Grant Williams and Jayson Tatum were doing to him -- they were getting physical, they were pushing him off the spot, KD was flailing and flopping everywhere.

"Jayson Tatum took ownership of actually guarding him yesterday -- for the first time since Giannis Antetokoumpo, I've never seen anybody guard Kevin Durant straight up and block his shot."

The Celtics played aggressive defense on Durant right out of the gate, forcing three KD turnovers in the first quarter. They were very physical with the 6-foot-10 forward and used active hands to pick Durant's pocket on multiple occasions.

Durant had just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting at halftime, and while he found his stroke in the second half, the Celtics made KD work for all of his 23 points en route to a thrilling 115-114 victory.

"Will KD struggle the entire series? Probably not. I'm guessing he won't. I've seen this movie before," Perkins continued. "But last night, KD got exposed from the physicality aspect.

"They were physical, they were bumping him, they were getting into him, they were frustrating him. Those turnovers weren't just careless turnovers. They were forced turnovers -- active hands, getting into his body."

While Durant probably will take issue with Perkins saying he got "punked," the superstar did tip his cap to the Celtics after the game, noting Boston's defense did a good job keeping him out of the paint and "making me see bodies."

The Celtics won't hold Durant to under 40% shooting every night, and there's a good chance he bounces back with a strong Game 2. But Boston's defense on Durant was a big reason why it was able to steal Game 1 despite a huge offensive effort from Kyrie Irving, who poured in a game-high 39 points.

While Durant will get his eventually, the Celtics might be able to tip the scales in their favor by wearing the 33-year-old down over the course of the seven-game series.

Note: Games 2-6 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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