Kevin Durant explodes for 49 points against the Bucks

Kevin Durant 49 points against Bucks

Kevin Durant had one of those career-defining nights last night in Game 5 of the Nets series against the Milwaukee Buck, dropping 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the depeleted Nets to victory. Kyrie Irving was out and James Harden clearly wasn’t himself with his hamstring issues. Jeff Green helped pick up the slack, hitting 7 of 8 threes, so Durant definitely had some help.

But it was clear in the second half that Durant was taking over the game, and the Bucks didn’t have an answer. Durant is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and he hit some monster shots in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo again failed to close out a critical playoff game. He missed a late free throw (not a surprise) and fumbled a short pass under the basket late in the game when he could have tied the game. He was clearly rushing as he didn’t want to get fouled, and that’s the key flaw in Giannis’s game.

Also, the defensive player of the year wasn’t asked to guard Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter when Durant was taking over the game. Giannis said after the game that he wants to guard Durant in those situations, but you have to wonder what Mike Budenholzer was thinking. I know he’s an experienced coach, but his experience seems to be coaching playoff collapses.

“He’s the best player in the world right now,” Giannis said of Durant. It’s hard to argue that. Durant has been a dominating force for years, though he his two rings don’t get much respect after he joined a 73-win Warriors team after losing to them with the Thunder. The Warriors probably don’t win more titles without Durant, but Durant certainly didn’t take the hard road to his titles.

Now he has two amazing sidekicks in Kyrie and Harden, but the Nets haven’t been at full strength much at all this year. Kyrie’s ankle injury looks pretty serious, so Durant may have his chance to carry a team to a title and truly earn the “best player” label.

The odds for the Nets to win the NBA title keep fluctuating through the ups and downs of this series. Durant’s performance and the game 5 win will help the odds swing back to their favor. Now we’ll see if Giannis and the Bucks can turn things around in Game 6 and somehow win a Game 7 on the road. Budenholzer needs to put Giannis on Durant in crunch time, or at least throw serious double teams at him to try to change this dynamic.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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