The Brooklyn Nets needed Kevin Durant to be extra special and then some on Tuesday night, and he was all of that and maybe a little more.
Without Kyrie Irving and a limited James Harden, Durant put on a performance for the ages. The former MVP had a triple-double with 49 points on 16/23 shooting, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Nets rallied to defeat the Bucks 114-108 at Barclays Center in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Durant, who played all 48 minutes, became the first player in NBA playoff history to have 45-plus points, 15-plus rebounds, and 10-plus assists in a game. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Durant’s 49 points are the second-most in a triple-double game in playoff history.
“I was trying to win each possession,” Durant said after the game. “And I didn’t think of how many points I had or shot attempts, rebounds, assists.”
The Nets have a 3-2 series lead, and Game 6 is on Thursday night in Milwaukee.
The Bucks, who had a 17-point third-quarter lead, will be kicking themselves all summer long if they lose this series. This was a golden opportunity for Milwaukee to put themselves in a position to close out the series in Game 6. Now, they have to win two straight, including one at Barclays Center, to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Regarding Durant, this might have been his signature moment. The Nets needed every one of his 49 points on Tuesday night. However, with Harden still not looking one-hundred-percent and Irving probably out for the series, Durant might need to have another big performance for Brooklyn to advance.
Don’t bet against the greatness of Durant. He has the potential to do this again, and don’t bet against the Bucks.
This series is not over!
NBA players from around the league were impressed by Durant’s special performance:
GREATNESS!! Appreciate it while you can people! #KD— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 16, 2021
You great killa!!! @KDTrey5— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) June 16, 2021