Reporting Tim Kephart
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OKLAHOMA CITY (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Heat signed forward Shane Battier, the team’s main goal was to increase the defensive pressure. It’s taken a while, but a fellow NBA superstar has acknowledged what Battier can do on defense with his special tactic.
At Battier’s age, 33, he knows that he can’t jump and block shots like he used too. Instead, Battier will face guard an opponent. When the opposing player goes up for a jump shot, Battier will thrust his hand in between the arms of the shooter and cover their line of sight with his hand.
Battier was excited when Oklahoma City Thunder superstar forward Kevin Durant acknowledged that it’s very frustrating when the hand comes up into his vision.
“I absolutely hate it,” Durant said. “But I’ve gotten used to it over the years playing Shane. You’ve just got to be disciplined on your shot, and I think shooting so many shots, you know once you kind of let loose, you know where it’s going to go.”
“YES! Someone finally admitted it,” Battier said. “For year, Kobe (Bryant) never admitted it. Yes!”
Battier said he developed the hands-to-the-face defensive tactic a few years ago. He would test it out in practice and he said his teammates got mad at him when he was doing it. Battier said at his age, he can’t block shots anymore, “so that’s my secret weapon.”
Durant said Battier is the only defender that he can recall who utilizes the technique.
“People in general don’t like being touched in their face, they don’t like hands in the face,” Battier said. “Shooters don’t like being touched on the wrist. They just don’t like it. I know I don’t like it. So, if I don’t like it, I know other guys don’t like it, so why don’t I do it?”
The Heat will need Battier to keep his hand in the face of Durant a lot more than he did in Game 1. Durant torched the Heat for 36 points and if the team wants to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy, containing Durant to some degree is a necessity.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)