Nets Ride Durant’s Historic Performance To Game 5 Victory
The Brooklyn Nets were without superstar Kyrie Irving in a critical Game 5 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks – so Kevin Durant turned on the afterburner to torch them with a historic playoff performance.
Durant turned in an eye-popping, historical game, putting up a ridiculous stat line with 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. Durant alone accumulated 41.5% of all Nets scoring, which pushed Brooklyn to a 114-108 victory.
Durant discussed his ability to provide dynamic performances whenever his team has needed him in the past: “I know the perception of me is that I can score the basketball well, but any team that I’ve played on, I’ve been asked to do pretty much everything from rebounding to defending to initiating to scoring,” he said.
Irving’s injury was only further compounded by the sluggish play of guard James Harden, who had arguably his worst playoff game ever – the usually impactful superstar converted just once on 10 shots, and missed every three-point attempt he chucked at the basket. Durant was the go-to man down the stretch and was nearly automatic from the floor, dropping 20 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee had been red-hot as of late, winning the last two games in the series and jumping out to a massive 17-point lead in Game 5. Durant then willed the Nets to a come-from-behind victory after trailing by 16 at the beginning of the third quarter.
A large storyline will be whether or not Harden can begin contributing and lift some of the scoring burden off the shoulders of Durant. Harden was not even supposed to play in Game 5, but then a series of pre-game workouts quickly changed the prognosis and the bearded superstar took the court. However, it was obvious Harden was still injured, with poor shot form and an inability to drive or juke his way to open looks. Head coach Steve Nash stated that whether Harden plays is being left to the former Rockets star, who will have to decide whether he can turn in a strong performance in a crucial Game 6.
The next game in the series is Thursday in Milwaukee.