NBA Playoffs: Memphis’ Tony Allen is making Kevin Durant earn his points

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Allen’s teammates allow him to take chances. He got a critical steal in the final minute of regulation againstDurant on Monday and finished the game with four steals.

“As much as Tony is doing on the ball, which is tremendous, he also has communication behind him,” Joerger said. “Those guys are telling him: ‘I’ve got your right. I’ve got your left.’ It’s hard to play a guy like that just by yourself out there on an island, which he does a lot.”

Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins, who played with Allen in Boston, said Allen is underrated. Though Allen averages just 8.1 points per game in his career, that number doesn’t measure his value to a team.

“He don’t stop,” Perkins said. “He’s going to keep coming. He’s fast. He’s faster than what a lot of people realize. And he gets real small on screens, so if you screen him, he does a good job of getting on a guy’s hip and recovering.”

Allen is known for his willingness to play a physical style, but Joerger said there is more to his success againstDurant than that.

“I wouldn’t say he is just mugging him all over the place,” Joerger said. “That’s why I said last night after the game that ‘Try to push him out to spots’ doesn’t mean a physical push. It can just be dancing sometimes.”

The Thunder say Durant will need to move more, get deeper position and be more of an attacker to counter Allen’s aggressive play. The Thunder said they could help him by improving ball movement and setting better screens.

“He’s a great defender,” Perkins said of Allen. “He doesn’t want the guy to catch the ball, so he’s going to deny, deny, deny. Once you catch it, you can go to work on him.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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