By: Logan Hill
Kevin Durant is really good at basketball. I mean REALLY GOOD.
The “Slim Reaper” and 2-time NBA Champion just put together arguably his best playoff performance ever. Playing all 48 minutes, Durant scored 49 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and dished 10 assists en route to a 114-108 Game 5 victory. His play helped Brooklyn come back from a 17-point deficit and grab a 3-2 lead in the series, as they head back to Milwaukee for Game 6.
“It was beautiful to watch,” Nets’ Head Coach Steve Nash said postgame.
What might make this even more impressive is the circumstances KD faced in this one. After winning the first two games of the series and looking to be in cruise control, the Bucks took the next two to tie the series and the Nets lost All-NBA Third Team selection Kyrie Irving to an ankle injury in the process. Sure, Harden suited up for the first time this series and had eight assists, but only chipped in five points and clearly didn’t look 100 percent.
Despite this, KD never wavered and just chipped away until that lead was all the way gone. Durant had a performance unlike any other. No literally, he is the only player in NBA Postseason History with at least 45 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a game. 49 points is the second most points ever scored in a playoff triple double (Behind only, who else but Russell Westbrook, who had 51 in 2017). The stuff of legends, basically.
After an off night in Game 4 in which he shot a lackluster 9-25 from the field and 1-8 from beyond the arc, Durant rebounded with a 16-23 performance to pace the Nets’ offense to the win. He led the team in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, which doesn’t sound real either.
KD and the Nets will look to close out the series on Thursday, June 17, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in franchise history, and the first since the 2002-03 season, when they were still the New Jersey Nets.