After being the heavy NBA title favorites just a few days ago, things were in concerning territory for the Brooklyn Nets entering Tuesday night’s Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee won Games 3 and 4, and the Nets lost Kyrie Irving to an ankle sprain — that may keep him out the rest of the series — in Game 4. Additionally, James Harden had been doubtful for Game 5 with a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the previous three games.
Well, Harden shockingly played 46 minutes, and Kevin Durant put together a monster triple-double, leading Brooklyn to a 114-108 victory in Game 5 at Barclays Center.
Harden very ineffective as a scorer: five points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field. However, he provided value as a distributor, dishing out eight assists. One of those assists came on an incredible Durant three-pointer to beat the shot clock in the final minute. Brooklyn was up 106-105 when Durant nailed this crucial triple with 50.7 seconds remaining:
Kevin Durant!!! 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/SkSnJeEFK2
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) June 16, 2021
Durant finished with numbers that would look incredible on NBA 2K rookie mode: 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists, while playing all 48 minutes. Those 49 points came on highly efficient shooting too, going 17-of-23 from the field, 4-of-9 on threes, and 13-of-16 from the charity stripe.
Kevin Durant (49 PTS, 17 REB, 10 AST) played all 48 minutes tonight.
— NBA (@NBA) June 16, 2021
Brooklyn also got a fantastic performance off the bench from veteran Jeff Green, who scored 27 points — making 7-of-8 threes — in 35 minutes played.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo — who had 34 points and 12 rebounds, but had a rough final two minutes which included fouling out — said that Durant is “the best player in the world right now.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo on Kevin Durant: "He's the best player in the world right now."
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 16, 2021
Milwaukee took a 16-point lead into halftime, but the Nets outscored the Bucks 71-49 in the second half.
"They deserved to lose that game. Shout out to Kevin Durant & Jeff Green."
Chuck sounds off after the Bucks blew a 17-PT lead in Game 5. pic.twitter.com/vUQGbCvQGQ
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 16, 2021
Without Irving, and without the usual Harden, Durant needed to be spectacular for Brooklyn in this one. He delivered and then some.
The Nets can close out the series in Game 6, but will need to do something neither team has done in this series: win a road game. Game 6 is on Thursday night in Milwaukee.