Kevin Durant produced an outstanding individual performance to steer the Brooklyn Nets to a 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
Durant posted a triple double comprising of 49 points, 10 assists and 17 rebounds in 48 minutes of action as he drove the Nets to victory at the Barclays Center.
The win means that the Nets now lead the series 3-2 heading into Game Six in Milwaukee on Thursday.
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Irving Ruled Out But Harden Returns From Injury
The night started with mixed news for the Nets with Kyrie Irving ruled out through the injury sustained early on in game four. However, that was tempered by the news that James Harden would make his return from injury.
As it was, an unfit Harden had a quiet night on his return scoring just 5 points, but contributing 8 assists and 6 rebounds as it was Durant that had a career game.
His 49 points fell just one short of equalling his best ever post-season points total in a single game but it was the way he inspired the Nets to a comeback victory, after trailing the Bucks by 16 points at half time, that will live long in the memory.
Kevin Durant. That’s it. That’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/rRWV3gVJeA
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 16, 2021
Bucks Stalled By Nets Second Half Onslaught
After winning the previous two games in Milwaukee, the Bucks started brightly in Brooklyn taking a 14-point lead in the first quarter and then extending that to 16 by the half. At one point, they had increased that lead to 18 points.
As per usual it was the trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo (34 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists), Khris Middleton (25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) and Jrue Holiday (19 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists) that led the way.
However, with Durant on fire and playing all 48 minutes of the game, the first player to do so in a playoff game since LeBron James in 2018, he produced a performance worthy of the title of the best player in the NBA right now to drive the Nets to a comeback victory.
Not only did he set a franchise record for points in a play-off game for the Nets, he joins Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley and Luka Doncic as just the fourth player to score at least 40 points, land 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a play-off game.
Bucks Try Save Their Season On Home Soil
Having won both their two previous home games against the Nets, the Bucks will head into game six trying to save their season. They start the game as the -3.5 favorites to win the game (-162 on the moneyline with both odds shown available with DraftKings Sportsbook).
Despite the loss, there are positives for the Bucks to take from the game. They certainly need to double team Durant far more quickly than they did in this encounter but they found their scoring prowess again in this game, even if they struggled on both offense and defense in the second half.
However with Kevin Durant in this mood, could the Nets sew up a place in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals with a win in Milwaukee? Tune in on Thursday night to find out.