Final Update: Nets 114, Bucks 108 — This may be the game we all remember when we look back at Kevin Durant’s legacy in the NBA. The superstar played ALL 48 MINUTES in Game 5, dropping 49 points with 17 rebounds and 10 assists in a HUGE victory to go up 3-2 in the second-round series. Durant matched his playoff career high with 49, one shy of the 50-burger. This was truly a game no one will forget. Durant joined a class of his own in the playoffs tonight.
Kevin Durant is the first player in NBA playoff history to record 45 plus points, 15 plus rebounds and 10 plus assists, Nets say.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2021
Harden returned to the lineup despite dealing with a hamstring injury and played 46 minutes. He wasn’t nearly as effective as Durant, but made a few key plays and was a decent decoy out there, finishing with 5 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Jeff Green was the big hero off the bench with 27 points on near perfect 3-point shooting.
The Nets trailed by 16 points at halftime in this game. It was an amazing performance by Durant but it was also an amazing collapse from the Bucks. Giannis made multiple key misplays down the stretch, including not being aggressive enough going to the basket while missing free throws. For some reason, Giannis didn’t play a lick of defense on Durant in the second half. Giannis posted 34-12-4 in 42 minutes and people will only remember this game as a failure on his part.
Update, Fourth quarter — Durant is not human. He’s up to 46 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
Update, Fourth quarter — Durant has taken over the Nets are leading with just about 3:00 left in the fourth quarter. He’s up to 43 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists and still hasn’t sat at all in this game. He isn’t going to. He shouldn’t sit. This is his time.
Update, Third quarter — KD still hasn’t sat. He’s at 36 minutes and is leading the Nets in scoring with 29 points as we enter the fourth quarter. The Nets enter the final frame trailing 87-81. Durant may not sit a minute in this game. Harden is playing a ton too. We’ll see if Brooklyn can pull off the miracle in this game.
The Brooklyn Nets are reeling. So much so that they had to play All-Star Kevin Durant all 24 minutes in the first half of Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. The Nets trail 59-43 at halftime of Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. Kyrie Irving is sidelined with an ankle injury. James Harden returned to the lineup but is a shell of his former self. Nothing is going well for the Nets and their title hopes appear to be fading.
Durant scored 18 points in the half while taking no breaks on the bench. While the offense is definitely an issue outside of Durant and, checks box score, ahhh yes, Jeff Green, who has 15 points off the bench, defense is also a concern. The Bucks shot 53 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range in the half. If the Nets can’t slow down Giannis (17 points) and Khris Middleton (14), it appears the Bucks will head back to Milwaukee with a chance to clinch the series on Thursday.
Harden is clearly not 100 percent. The hamstring isn’t allowing him to do much in terms of separation on the perimeter and he is reluctant to drive to the basket and draw contact. Harden went 0-for-6 from the field and only attempted one shot inside the 3-point line (0-5).
At this point, I’m not even 100 percent sure if the Nets would be playing much better with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Harden. Durant has been inefficient. The rest of the team can’t buy a bucket, especially Joe Harris, who has had a brutal stretch of games in this series. He’s 1-of-7 and has only hit one 3-pointer tonight on four attempts. Durant and Green combined for 33 points and the rest of the team had 10. It’s also not like we haven’t seen the Nets’ role players step up. Maybe it’s just a testament to the defense the Bucks are playing since Game 3.
Anyway, we’ll see if the Nets respond at all. They’re getting 11.5 points on the live spread and are +510 on the moneyline. There’s value in both those numbers if you think things may get better in the second half. It’s difficult to see that happening but it is the playoffs and the Nets’ season is sort of on the line.