On Tuesday night, he scored 49 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out 10 assists to help his Brooklyn Nets come back and beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Nets head coach Steve Nash paid homage to Durant’s performance in New York, calling it a “historic, historic performance.”
“This is a performance that’s a signature performance for Kevin, and it was beautiful to watch.”
All on him
After Irving suffered an ankle injury in Game Four and with Harden making his first appearance since injuring his hamstring in Game One, it looked from the outset like Durant might have to carry the load for the Nets.
And with the spotlight on him, he put in one of the NBA Playoffs’ greatest ever performances.
He also set a Nets franchise record for points in a playoff game, surpassing Vince Carter’s mark of 43 set 15 years ago.
With the help of Jeff Green’s 27 points, Durant was able to drag the Nets back from a 17-point third quarter deficit.
Even Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a two-time MVP award winner, could do nothing but praise Durant afterwards.
“We’ve got to guard him as a team, and we’ve got to make him make tough shots, like tonight, and we’ve just got to keep doing our job, and hopefully he’s going to miss. But we’ve got to keep doing our job, keep guarding together, keep showing help, keep making it tough, keep picking him up full court.”
The victory means that the Nets lead the best-of-seven playoff series 3-2, with Game Six taking place in Milwaukee on Thursday and the Nets a win away from their first Eastern Conference finals since 2003.
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