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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 15: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates after he is fouled late in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks during game 5 of the Eastern Conference second round at Barclays Center on June 15, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo : Elsa/Getty Images)
The Brooklyn Nets moved to within a victory of the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks, 114-108, in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series Tuesday night. Kevin Durant put on an offensive clinic in the second half for the Nets, who now hold a 3-2 lead in this semifinal series.
All the momentum was with Milwaukee heading into the pivotal Game 5 of this series. The Bucks protected their home court in Games 3 and 4, recording back-to-back wins to level the series at two games apiece. To make matters worse for the Nets, Kyrie Irving injured his right ankle in Game 4 and was ruled out for the all-important fifth game.
Durant sizzles in Game 5 win
The Bucks carried that momentum at the start of Game 5, racing to a quick 29-15 lead after the opening quarter. During that period, the Nets looked out of sorts as they shot just 4 of 19 from the field. James Harden, a late addition to Brooklyn’s starting lineup for this game, appeared to be rusty as he failed to make a single basket during the first quarter.
The Bucks continued their dominance in the second quarter, stretching their lead to 17 points before entering the half-time break with a commanding 59-43 advantage.
With their season hanging in the balance, Kevin Durant took matters into his own hands in the second half, producing an offensive masterclass that will rank as one of the best playoff performances in the history of the NBA.
Durant torched the Nets, finishing with 49 points, 17 rebounds, ten assists, three steals, and two blocks in 48 minutes of action. It was a tour de force performance by Durant, who recorded just the second triple-double of his career.
Trailing by 16 points midway through the third quarter, Durant went on a rampage, finishing the second half with 31 points, 20 of which came in the final quarter.
Playing the entire game with the Nets short-handed, Durant was simply unstoppable, shooting 16 of 23 from the field, 4 of 9 from beyond the arc, and 13 of 16 from the charity stripe.
Jeff Green sets career-high
It wasn’t just Durant who played the game of his life on Tuesday. Veteran forward Jeff Green delivered timely baskets the entire contest, scoring 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, including a playoff career-high seven 3-pointers.
Even though Harden finished the game with just five points, his presence for the Nets proved vital as the game neared its conclusion. Even with an ailing hamstring, Harden played a whopping 46 minutes, giving Steve Nash an extra weapon on the offensive end. Harden will look to get his shooting stroke back, though, for Game 6 as he missed nine of 10 field goal attempts in Game 5.
It was a painful loss for the Bucks, who were in complete control of the contest before Durant’s late-game explosion. Their Game 5 defeat brought back painful memories for Milwaukee fans as the Bucks once again failed to execute offensively down the stretch in a crucial playoff game.
The Nets shot an incredible 64.9 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from beyond the arc during the second half as they outscored the Bucks, 71-49, including 33-21 in the fourth period.
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