Kevin Durant comes up short against the Bucks

Kevin Durant interview 2021 after loss to Bucks

Kevin Durant and the Nets were down 2 to the Bucks in game 7 with the clock winding down, and Kevin Duran had the ball in his hands. Durant launches a spectacular jumper . . . for the win? No, his foot was on the line. It could have been a career-defining shot, but his feet were on the line. The shot tied the game as opposed to winning it.

Fast forward to overtime, and Durant had another chance. But he was exhausted by then, and that three-pointer caught nothing but air. An air ball to end the game.

It was a great series, and you have to give Giannis Antetokounmpo credit, but it seems pretty clear that a Healthy Nets team would have won this series. Kyrie Irving was dominating the Bucks before getting hurt, and James Harden did his best to pay on an injured hamstring, but he just wasn’t himself in this series.

The Bucks clearly had some good fortune on their side, though this gritty performance to somehow pull out this series has left them in a good position. The Bucks are now favored to win it all, as there certainly isn’t an elite team standing in their way. But it’s certainly not a lock. The Bucks are good, but not great.

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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.

Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets?


Dwight Howard Reportedly Going to Houston Rockets by NewsyVideos

Is anyone surprised that Dwight Howard left LA?

Any team giving Howard a max deal is taking some risks, as Howard doesn’t seem to have what it takes to lead a championship team. But Houston might be the best fit, with James Harden established as the clear team leader. Harden is young and doesn’t have the in-your-face edge Kobe Bryant brought to the table. That approach clearly wasn’t the best fit for a fragile Howard.

Gregg Popovich praises Oklahoma City

After the Oklahoma City eliminated his San Antonio Spurs last night, Gregg Popovich was the epitome of class, as usual.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich reflected on how great a run the Thunder were on after dismissing the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks (4-0) and Los Angeles Lakers (4-1) in the playoffs before eliminating the Spurs.

“As sad and disappointed as we are, it’s almost like a Hollywood script for OKC,” Popovich Said.

“They went through Dallas, last year’s NBA champion, and they went through the Lakers and they went through us. Those teams represent 10 of the last 13 championships.

“They will face either Boston or Miami and that will be 11 of the last 13 championships. I don’t know if anybody has ever had a run against teams like that. “I think that’s incredible. I think it’s pretty cool for them.”

I was a little skeptical of the Thunder’s chances to win a title this year due to the youth of their superstars, but Kevin Durant is a much different player than Lebron James. Durant is a true competitor and a leader, and he has some great talent around him with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. If Miami somehow makes it past Boston, I have confidence that the Thunder can take them out.

Kobe drops 45 on James Harden [video]

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