The Jerusalem Post

Durant’s 49-point explosion leads Nets to 3-2 series edge over Bucks


BROOKLYN (Reuters) – Kevin Durant totaled 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists as the Brooklyn Nets stormed back and beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 Tuesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in New York.

The Nets, who overcame a 17-point, third-quarter deficit, lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 thanks to one of Durant’s most impressive postseason performanc­es. They would advance to their first Eastern Conference finals since 2003 if they can win Thursday night in Milwaukee.

Durant set a franchise record for points in a playoff game, breaking the mark of 43 set by Vince Carter in 2006. He also posted his second career postseason triple-double and joined Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic as the fourth player with at least 40 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a postseason game.

Durant shot 16-of-23 from the field, made 4-of- 9 three-point attempts and hit 13-of-16 free throws. He finished one point shy of his postseason career high, set with the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the 2019 Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Clippers.

On Tuesday, Durant scored 31 points in the final 18:38, when the Nets outscored Milwaukee 54-32. He scored 11 in the third to get Brooklyn within 87-81 and then gave the Nets a 97-96 lead on a three-pointer with 7:54 remaining.

The Bucks tied the game at 104 on a short jumper by Jrue Holiday with 2:24 remaining, but the Nets took the lead for good on two free throws by James Harden with 87 seconds to go. Durant finished off his big game with a triple and three free throws in the final 50.5 seconds.

Brooklyn’s Jeff Green added a playoff-career-high 27 points by shooting 8-of-11 and hitting 7-of-8 three-point tries. Blake Griffin chipped in 17 points for the Nets, who shot 49.4 percent from the floor.

Harden went from doubtful to active but wound up with just five points on 1-of-10 shooting. He missed the previous three games due to right hamstring tightness.

Giannis Antetokoun­mpo led Milwaukee with 34 points and 12 rebounds. Khris Middleton added 25 and Holiday had 19 for the Bucks, who also shot 49.4 percent on field-goal attempts.

Antetokoun­mpo, Holiday and Middleton combined for 22 points as the Bucks smothered the Nets into missing 16-of-20 shots, guiding Milwaukee to a 29-15 lead after the opening quarter, and a 59-43 edge at halftime.

Giannis, Jokic, Curry, Doncic, Kawhi

named first-team All-NBA team League MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and unanimous selection Giannis Antetokoun­mpo of the Milwaukee Bucks made the All-NBA first team.

They were joined on the first team by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic and Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard.

Despite being a finalist for the MVP award, Philadelph­ia 76ers Joel Embiid was only a second-team All-NBA selection due to position limitation­s – each team only featured one center, and Jokic beat out Embiid in votes.

Embiid was joined on the second team by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and New York Knicks forward Julius Randle.

The five to make the third team were guards

Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn) and Bradley Beal (Washington), forwards Jimmy Butler (Miami) and Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) and center Rudy Gobert (Utah).

It marked the first career All-NBA selections for Randle and Beal. James notched his 17th All-NBA selection and Paul earned his 10th.

The next two guards receiving votes were the Wizards’ Russell Westbrook and the Nets’ James Harden, falling just behind their respective teammates, Beal and Irving. Forwards who narrowly missed the cut included the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and the Nets’ Kevin Durant.

Harden and Tatum each earned two first-team votes despite not accumulati­ng enough total votes for inclusion on any of the three teams.

Jokic became the first second-round draft pick in league history to be named MVP. Jokic started all 72 games for the Nuggets and averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel