After an all-time historic performance from Kevin Durant in Game 5, the Brooklyn Nets came storming back late to take a commanding 3-2 series lead against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs.
Going into the game, the Nets were without star point guard Kyrie Irving and a hobbled James Harden. The Bucks took advantage and jumped right on Brooklyn, and held a double-digit lead for most of the contest. It took a 49-point triple-double from KD to win the game.
No player in NBA playoff history up until Durant has ever scored at least 45 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds in a game. It was remarkable to watch as he put the entire league on notice. Superstar Bucks forward Giannis Antetokoumpo even called Durant “The best player in the world” after the game, which was alarming to hear considering Giannis won MVP last season.
With that being said, it is hard to argue against Antetokoumpo’s comments. Putting Durant’s amazing numbers last night aside, if someone said that Harden would only score five points in the contest, it would be very hard to believe that Brooklyn would win.
The only other Nets player that made a significant contribution was Uncle Jeff Green, who put up a surprise contribution of 27 points. Besides Green, however, Brooklyn relied heavily on Durant’s heroics.
Durant, who played all 48 minutes, willed his team to come back from a double-digit deficit to close out the game. Milwaukee was seemingly throwing countless bodies at Kevin to try to slow him down but to no avail.
It was a treat to watch, especially in the 4th quarter. If Brooklyn had lost last night, they would have been in a world of trouble. With the victory, however, they have a great chance to beat the Bucks, especially if Irving is able to return to the lineup and with Harden getting more and more healthy.
If the Nets do indeed make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, I do see them having a distinct advantage over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks. It will be extremely hard for either team to match up with the Nets, especially at full strength.
Milwaukee, in my opinion, will be their stiffest opponent, and that includes whoever comes out of the West. As good as the Phoenix Suns look, the Chris Paul Covid situation makes them a huge question mark, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers with Kawhi Leonard’s knee injury.
As formidable as the Utah Jazz are, Donovan Mitchell’s ankle and the play of the supporting cast have been subpar thus far. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz plan to defend the Nets Big 3 if those two teams meet in The NBA Finals.
Due to all those question marks from the remaining teams, I give Brooklyn the best chance to not only win the East but to win the NBA Championship. At the end of the day, the NBA is a star-driven league, and the Nets have the biggest one in Kevin Durant, with James Harden and Kyrie Irving surrounding him.