Kevin Durant fired back at Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen's criticism following the Brooklyn Nets' Eastern Conference semi-finals exit in the NBA playoffs.
Chicago Bulls great and six-time NBA champion Pippen gave a blunt assessment of superstar Durant, who was unable to guide the Nets to the Conference Finals.
Durant averaged a career-high 34.3 points, a career-best 9.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists in this season's playoffs, but the second-seeded Nets fell to the Milwaukee Bucks after overtime in Game 7 in the second round.
His 48 points in the series decider were the most scored in a Game 7 in NBA history, but that did not spare him of criticism from Pippen – who referenced Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.
"He needs to learn how to utilise his teams," Pippen, who played alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago, told GQ. "He has to learn how to set up his team-mates to be better. That's it. As great as he is, there's a [cap] to his [talent].
"He could've easily made that three, killed them in regulation, and we wouldn't have been talking about this. But I knew going into overtime, he wasn't gonna make it. He was taking all the shots. You done played the whole game, bro! And they've got guys physically wearing you down. You gonna lose."
Pippen added: "KD can score better than LeBron, probably always have been able to. But has he surpassed LeBron? Naw. He tried to beat the Milwaukee Bucks instead of utilising his team. You see what I'm saying?
"LeBron James would've figured out how to beat them and he wouldn't have been exhausted and he may not have taken the last shot. But LeBron ain't KD, and KD ain't LeBron. KD is a shooter, a scorer. But he doesn't have what LeBron has."
Durant, who shouldered the load in the Nets-Bucks series as James Harden struggled with a hamstring injury and Kyrie Irving missed time due to an ankle problem, called out Pippen on social media.
A two-time champion, two-time Finals MVP and 2014 NBA MVP, Durant wrote via Twitter: "Didn't the great Scottie Pippen refuse to go in the game for the last second shot because he was in his feelings his coach drew up the play for a better shooter??
"This guy Scott also wanted to enjoy his summer so he chose to rehab during the season lol yo @ScottiePippen THEY FOLLOWED PHIL [JACKSON], NOT YOU!!!"