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.

Kyrie Irving and the Warriors

Kyrie Irving did it again on Christmas day, and the Golden State Warriors have to be thinking about how they can stop this guy in crunch time. And that’s after dealing with Lebron James and Kevin Love as well.

For all the hype about Kevin Durant, we’re seeing the Cavs playing together like a real team, and that has to be scary for the Warriors and the rest of the NBA.

Kyrie Irving vs Dwyane Wade

The folks at First Take posed an interesting question the other day by asking whether Kyrie Irving or Dwyane Wade was the better teammate for Lebron James.

Both are great players, and both were great teammates, and your answer will likely depend on which traits you value more.

I’ll side with Kyrie Irving at this point, as his game compliments Lebron’s game perfectly with his ability to hit three-pointers and take on late-game shots. Wade was incredible as well, but he and Lebron have similar games.

Cavs stun Warriors to win NBA Finals!

Many of us expected an epic series, and Game 7 certainly delivered.

The Block – The video above will be replayed for generations. This highlight will forever be one of the iconic moments that define the greatness of Lebron James.

The Shot II – Cleveland fans have had to endure a 52-year championship drought, along with the never-ending montage of failures including The Shot from Michael Jordan. Now Cleveland fans have their own “shot” to celebrate for generations, as Kyrie Irving delivered the three-point dagger over Steph Curry to give the Cavs a three-point lead with under a minute left in the game.

The Comeback – No team had ever come back from a 3-1 definite in the NBA Finals. Also, the Cavs were facing the record-setting 73-win Warriors and had to win two games on their court, including game 7. This was a comeback for the ages. Much of this comeback was fueled by the arrogance of the Warriors as they called out Lebron James after game 4, only to see Lebron rise to the challenge and make them eat their words.

The Collapse – Speaking of Steph Curry and the Warriors, this one has to hurt. The either choked or they were exposed. Either way this was an epic fail. The Cavs turned up their defense on the Splash Brothers and dared them to try to take over the game. They wilted under the pressure.

This series, and this Cavs championship, will be talked about for years to come.

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