Pippin shot at Kevin Durant in a recent interview with GQ magazine.
Durant's performance against the Brooklyn Nets was his first real experience with Durant being the man to bring the team home. Durant played seven games in a series that the Nets lost. We haven't seen that before, because he has had Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Klay Thompson. He has been beating people by committee, certainly in Golden State. With a team. But that team knew how to win even without KD. KD is now in Brooklyn and Kyrie (Irving), gets hurt. James Harden isn't that guy. KD must not only score but also make plays. This is not a knock on KD. But they asked me if he had surpassed LeBron Jam. I replied that LeBron knows team basketball better then KD.
Pippen said, "KD can score higher than LeBron, probably always been able. But is he better than LeBron? Naw. Instead of using his team, he tried to beat the Milwaukee Bucks. Can you see what I mean? LeBron James would have figured out how they could beat him, he wouldn’t have been exhausted, and he might not have taken his last shot. KD isn't LeBron, but LeBron ain’t LeBron. KD is a shooter and a scorer. He doesn't have the same skills as LeBron.
KD, for all his great offense, turned out to have been his worst enemy. He didn't know how team basketball worked when it came down. He tried to match his opponent's punches. He was being beaten by Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Khris] Middleton and, what's the guard name (Jru Holiday).
This is almost absurd when you consider the famous playoffs matchup in which Pippen and Bulls faced off against the Knicks back in 1994.
Durant recalled and tweeted: "Didn’t Scottie Pippen refuse the last shot because he was feeling his coach? "
KD is absolutely right.
After two close victories to open the semifinal series the Knicks were on the road for Game 3. After leading 89-70 through three quarters, the Bulls took the lead in the fourth.
Bulls coach Phil Jackson decided to give Toni Kukoc his final shot. The "Croatian Sensation," at 25 years old, was a rookie who had scored multiple game-winners during his first NBA season.
Jackson asked Pippen to ball inbound the ball. Pippen decided not to go and sat down at the bench.
The New York Times summarized the situation as follows: "Andrea Kramer (an ESPN reporter who was at this point beside the Bulls bench with a cameraman), quoted Pippen saying that he had used an expletive before saying, 'I'm tired.' Pippen then sat down. Some other players shouted, "Pip, get up, what're you doing?" He refused to return to the game. Jackson called a second timeout because the Bulls were only sending four players to the court.
Jackson assembled four players -- Kukoc and B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, and Steve Kerr were positioned at the foul line. Pete Myers was then instructed to inbound the ball. Grant walked around the basket, while Kerr and Armstrong swung in opposite directions. Kukoc stepped back to receive the lob from Myers. Kukoc created enough distance from Anthony Mason to launch an explosive jumper that hit the net and won the game.
This exact play was used by the Bulls earlier in the season against Pacers. Pippen threw the pass to Kukoc for the 3-pointer, which gave them a one-point win at the buzzer. Pippen, however, was pouting from the bench after his team won. Here's Pippen's explanation to GQ:
It's not a mystery to me, but you have to look at the details. This was my first year without Michael Jordan. Why wouldn't it be my last shot? You're going to insult me and tell you to get it out! It was a very low blow. It was an opportunity to give Kukoc a lift. It was a racial move that gave him a lift. After everything I've done with this organization, you're going to tell me to get the ball and toss it to Toni Kukoc. I'm being insulted. That's what I felt.
Pippen now pulls the race card. This is the same guy who accuses Kevin Durant not knowing how to play basketball in a team setting. Pippen accuses KD of being selfish for taking all the shot down the stretch. On the other hand, Pippen was unable to handle Phil Jackson's request for the last shot.
Pippen stated that KD should have gotten his teammates involved. Pippen noted that the Bucks were sharing scoring between Antetokounmpo and Middleton. KD did not have a reliable team to share the ball with because Irving was injured and Harden was on one leg.
It is difficult to pin down the loss of the man who set a seven-year NBA record for scoring 49 points and made the shot that sent the game into overtime.
Relax on your couch, Scottie.