Jun 16, 2021
Kevin Durant’s Game 5 performance gets props from LeBron, Magic and others
Durant led the Nets to an historic upset over the Bucks, securing his rep as one of the all-time greats
Kevin Durant made a compelling case that he might be the best basketball player in the world—and one of the greatest of all time—at Barclays Center Tuesday night.
Thanks exclusively to his historic performance, the Nets overcame a 17-point deficit, with a hobbled James Harden and sans Kyrie Irving, to upset the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Durant played all 48 minutes in Game 5, recording a legendary 49 point, 17 rebound, 10 assist triple-double.
When the Bucks tied the series Sunday, it felt as though the Brooklyn Nets championship dreams were slipping through their fingers. James Harden was already injured, and Kyrie Irving was forced to depart after spraining his ankle.
That context made last night’s game perhaps the most important in Nets history. With their ultra-talented roster, this was the year the team was finally supposed to ascend from years of mediocrity to NBA royalty, a vision the franchise laid out when it moved to Brooklyn in 2012. It was simply a must-win.
But Brooklyn and the world knew, if the Nets were to have any serious chance of winning Game 5 at the Barclays Center last night, it would fall to Durant to deliver. And so he did.
For a player who has often been criticized for his decision to team up with superstars—like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for the Golden State Warriors, and Kyrie Irving and James Harden for this year’s Nets—Durant clearly relished the opportunity to shine on his own.
It was a performance Brooklyn and the worldwide NBA community will never forget, and they reacted accordingly:
GREATNESS!! Appreciate it while you can people! #KD
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 16, 2021
Kevin Durant put on one of the greatest performances in NBA playoff history scoring 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists and leading his shorthanded Nets to victory taking a 3-2 lead.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 16, 2021
Got Damn Slim!
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 16, 2021
Rucker Park Durant!!!
— Tim Hardaway Jr (@T_HardJR) June 16, 2021
Two years ago Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles and we wondered if he could ever be the same player again. Tonight in Game 5:
All-time great performance by an all-time great player. pic.twitter.com/uL8pyYk6Mz
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 16, 2021
SportsCenter essay on Kevin Durant’s historic Game 5 — and how he is viewing Game 6 on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/80LlF0eWC4
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 16, 2021
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