There was a massive shortage of superlatives and adjectives at the Brooklyn Center as Kevin Durant dropped one of the greatest playoff performances of all time. Durant registered a triple-double comprising of 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists to give the Nets a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The responsibility and spotlight were all on Durant as he had to take on the Bucks without Kyrie Irving. Moreover, Durant had only a half-fit James Harden at his disposal as well.
His former teammate at Oklahoma City Thunder struggled massively on the court. Harden was 0-for-6 from the field in the first half as the Nets trailed by 16 points by the end of it.
Kevin Durant, arguably playing his best game for the franchise, which also makes it his most prolific game since his injury in the NBA Finals two years ago, played every minute of the high-stakes encounter.
His 49-points majorly came from a 16-of-23 shooting (4-of-9 from deep) while he stealthily also added three steals and two blocks to send Nets closer to their first ever conference finals in 18 years.
Harden struggled in the 46 minutes that he played on the court with only 5 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Jeff Green took up the role and nudged 27 crucial points off the bench to aid Durant big time.
A stellar 10-1 run after half-time was a defining period for Durant and co, as they closed down the deficit to six points after the end of the third quarter. The continuous momentum drove the scores all level three minutes into the final quarter.
The former Warriors ace stuck the final dagger with a three-pointer from downtown to stretch the lead to four with a quarter of a minute remaining. The fixture eventually ended 114-108 to send the series score 3-2 in the favour of the Nets.
The entire league in awe of Durant’s masterclass
The historic performance was met with unanimous praise from the basketball community.
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokoumpo, whose bright 34 points and 12 rebound performance will be buried in the shadows of Durant’s exploits, tagged the Nets ace as the best player in the world.
The number one seed will now look to close out the series in Milwaukee and wait for their opponent in the final. The other semis clash between Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks is evenly poised at 2-2.