KD's masterpiece lifts Nets to 3-2 series edge over Bucks
The Brooklyn Nets overcame a double-digit deficit, Kyrie Irving's absence, and an injury-hampered James Harden to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 to take a 3-2 series lead, thanks in large part to Kevin Durant's career performance.
Durant finished Game 5 with a triple-double of 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists, plus three steals and two blocks.
Even more miraculously, Durant never came off the floor; the 32-year-old played every second of game time Tuesday, two years to the week of undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon. It was the first time a player logged 48 minutes in a non-overtime postseason game since LeBron James did so in the 2018 NBA Finals, according to Stathead.
"I was just trying to win each possession and I didn't think about how many points I had or shot attempts, or rebounds, assists. It was more like, 'Let me do what I need to do each possession,'" Durant said postgame.
He added: "I did play every minute so that helped with my point total, but for the most part I just tried to stay engaged on the defensive side of the ball all game."
Harden, returning to the floor for the first time since suffering hamstring tightness in the opening minute of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinals clash, tallied just five points on 1-of-10 shooting, though he did record eight assists and six rebounds in 46 minutes of action.
"I didn't expect to play, so 46 is a lot. But I'm built for it," Harden said. "Credit to our trainers and things like that, they've been doing an unbelievable job of preparing me. So (I'll) just get some rest and give it another shot in Game 6, try to come up with the same results."
On the losing end, Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 34 points on 14-of-22 shooting, plus 12 boards, four assists, and a pair of blocks in 42 minutes. Khris Middleton scored 25 points on 8-of-22 shooting while guard Jrue Holiday added 19 points and a team-high eight assists.
The Nets trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, only cutting the gap to 16 at halftime. From that point on, Brooklyn outscored Milwaukee 71-49.