On a night where his head coach Steve Nash labeled his performance “historic, ” both teammate Jeff Green and NBA player Isaiah Thomas called Durant “the best player in the world.”
Considering the stakes of tonight’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals — and how KD performed — those guys are probably right.
KD even had LeBron James tweeting
GREATNESS!! Appreciate it while you can people! #KD
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 16, 2021
It was tough to argue with any of the superlatives used to describe what we witnessed in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
KD came up with a historic 49-point, 17-rebound, and 10-assist triple-double while shooting (16-23) overall and (10-13) in the second half where he scored 31 of his 49 points.
He played all 48 minutes in a virtual must-win for the Nets as they fended off the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 to seize a (3-2) lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff series.
With this epic performance, the Prince George’s County MD native joins a select group that includes Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley, and Luka Doncic among players to notch a 45-15-10 triple-double in the playoffs.
“The injuries he’s been through, to come back from the Achilles to the hamstring, the world is witnessing once again who the best player in the world is,” said teammate and close friend from Prince George’s County (MD). “He’s a workhorse, he loves basketball and he works tirelessly on his craft.”
Durant’s historic night helped the Nets overcome a 17-point deficit. His deep-three over Khris Middleton put the Nets up 109-105 and then he iced it with rebounds and free throws.
What might have more impressive than his scoring was how he transformed into a facilitator with Harden playing but clearly hobbled and Kyrie Irving out with an ankle injury. He handled the ball, he distributed, he rebounded, he contested shots and got big steals and deflecttions. Case in point Kevin Wayne Durant did it all.
“He’s always been a well-rounded player,” said Green, who chipped with 27 huge points including 7-8 from deep off the bench. “I think people just notice the scoring because he makes it look easy. He’s a well-rounded player, a guy who makes the right pass and he showcased that tonight.”
Teammate James Harden said the following, Kevin’s game was just unbelievable. He was unfazed the entire game. He was poised, especially in the second half. I saw Kevin directing people where he wanted them to be. Once he gets in a zone, it’s pretty much hard to stop him.”
Durant said he was motivated by Harden’s willingness to play with the hamstring injury and he did help run the offense while accumulating 8 big assists and 6 rebounds. Nash even admitted the Nets are taking some risks having KD play the entire 48, and having Harden play 46 minutes after not being expected to play at all.
Harden said he felt he could give his teammates a jolt, some encouragement, some positive vibes after the two losses over the weekend in “Cream City.”
That he did and now they have life headed back to Milwaukee where they can finish off the series in Game 6 on Thursday night. They also have the cushion of knowing a potential Game 7 would be back Barclays Center if need be. But Durant isn’t thinking like that at all.
“I can’t celebrate because I had a good game, we gotta travel, and we gotta finish it out.” KD said.
Kevin Wayne Durant is the only UNICORN in the NBA, meaning he’s rare or as I like to say #OneofOne.
We’ve never seen a player of this size and length, with Durant’s unique skillset.
#EazyMoneySniper #SlimReaper #Walking30PieceWithAllSides