It could have been the best individual effort in the Hall-of-Fame career of Kevin Durant. Few players are capable of putting up a 49-point game, but he also did it when the franchise needed it most.READ MORE: Báez Helps Mets Rally Past Reds
The Nets looked like they were done, down 17 points in the second half, but big players step up in big games.
As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reports, Kevin Durant’s performance in Game 5 was simply breathtaking — 49 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists.
“That’s what makes him one of the all-time greats,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said. “This is a performance that, a signature performance for Kevin, and it was beautiful to watch.”
NBA playoffs are where legacies are made, like when Willie Reed limped onto the court in the 1970 finals leading to Walt Frazier’s heroic championship effort, or Michael Jordan’s 63-point game, a record that still stands today.
Over the years, we’ve seen the best of Magic and Bird, Kobe and Shaq, and LeBron and Steph, and now KD’s shining moment.
“I’m sure when I reflect on it, we can talk about it then, but for now, it was great that we got the W,” Durant said.
An all-important W for a franchise who went all in to win their first NBA title this year. A team that’s endured the most games lost to injured stars in the NBA. Even in the playoffs with Kyrie Irving out and James Harden still recovering, Durant put on a masterclass playing every single minute.
“They were going to take me out. I was like, ‘Yo, if y’all don’t need to, I’m cool. I think I can kind of tough it out,'” Durant said.
NBA greats weighed in as they saw Durant become the first player to score more than 45 points with 15-plus rebounds and 10-plus assists in a playoff game ever.
Best player in the world!!!!!!READ MORE: Rizzo HR Again For Yanks As Marlins' Mattingly Misses Game
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) June 16, 2021
Kevin Durant gave us a Mount Rushmore performance tonight!! 🔥🥵 @KDTrey5
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 16, 2021
GREATNESS!! Appreciate it while you can people! #KD
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 16, 2021
There’s no hardware for what Durant did Tuesday night, no rings or trophies, but he cemented his legacy.
The number of players on the injured list looks like an all-NBA team. That amplifies the value of a player like Durant, a guy who can singlehandedly carry a team.MORE NEWS: New York Jets Fail To Come To Terms With Safety Marcus Maye
We’ll see if he can do it again in Game 6 Thursday night in Milwaukee.