Kevin Durant

Inside the futile efforts to stop Kyrie Irving at the rim: 'There's only so much you can do'

Maybe his godfather Rod Strickland comes closest, but when you ask the NBA players and coaches tasked with stopping him at the rim how they try to do it, they don’t bring up comparisons.

His teammate DeAndre Jordan spent a decade trying to swat him at the rim and now is glad they play together so he can avoid the headache that’s a common side effect of a dose of Irving.

It’s midway through the third quarter of the Nets’ Feb. 10 matchup against the Indiana Pacers, and Turner, one of the league’s premier rim protectors, just switched onto Irving.

Irving is a master of pace and footwork, the king of hand-eye: He could be going one direction, then wait, he’s crossed between the legs and is off to the races before the defender can recover.

They’ve been part of his game since he was in AAU circuits, since he was roaming New Jersey basketball courts and gyms as the local kid who did crazy layups.

“So I think that gives me an advantage in terms of anybody else who you compare me to but my finishing at the rim is only a small part of my game that I credit to my work ethic.”

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