Kevin Durant’s All-Time Performance Spearheaded A Nets Comeback Win Over The Bucks In Game 5

A little more than two years ago, then-Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant suffered a ruptured achilles during an NBA Finals matchup against the Toronto Raptors. An injury that has taken careers from players far too soon, Durant spent all of the 2019-20 season rehabbing the injury and returned to the floor this year as a member of the Brooklyn Nets.

There have been plenty of moments this season where Durant has reminded us that he’s one of the best players of his generation, and on Tuesday night, we saw the former league MVP put forth a game for the ages. Durant, through sheer force of will, led the Nets to a thrilling 114-108 comeback win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclays Center, putting Brooklyn ahead in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, 3-2. He played every single second, going for 49 points on 16-for-23 shooting with 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, and two blocks, making him the first player to ever go for at least 45, 15, and 10 in a playoff game.

A completely different Nets team took the floor before and after halftime. Brooklyn scored 15 points in the first quarter and entered the locker room trailing by 16. Durant, Jeff Green, and Blake Griffin did everything they could, but it appeared James Harden’s hamstring injury was going to put a limit on what they could accomplish.

And then, Durant happened, taking total control of the game after the break. In one of the greatest individual playoff performances that we have ever seen, Durant caught fire during the game’s second half, hitting seemingly every shot, initiating the Nets’ offense, and playing swarming defense that played a role in the Bucks getting stuck in the mud. While we have seen Durant do some incredible things over the course of his NBA career, nothing has been quite like this.

Every single thing Milwaukee tried to do seemed hopeless against Durant, who put on a shot making clinic. And with less than a minute remaining in the game, he put things to bed, pulling up over Khris Middleton for a jumper at the end of the shot clock that made the Barclays Center roar.

While Harden obviously was not himself and Kyrie Irving was sidelined with an ankle injury, Green and Griffin came up big. The latter gave the Nets 17 points, while the former was out of his mind, scoring 27 off the bench and hitting seven of his eight attempts from three.

Both dudes competed like hell on defense, too, something that really flummoxed the Bucks in the second half. Antetokounmpo did what he could, going for 34 with 12 rebounds, but just was not able to keep up with the furious output from Durant.

Beyond Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton gave the Bucks 25 points with five assists and four rebounds, while Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez combined for 34. But once the Nets got cooking, it looked like every attempt at stemming the tide by Milwaukee was for naught — as a team, they were outscored 33-21 in the fourth quarter and just could not find any sort of rhythm.

Game 6 between the Bucks and the Nets will take place on Thursday night at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The game is scheduled to tip off at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.