One of the great things about the NBA is that it’s filled with some of the coolest, most colorful characters in all of sports. So, when Milwaukee Bucks center Giannis Antetokounmpo got out of bed on Thursday morning and saw the headline “Kevin Durant trolls Giannis Antetokounmpo” on the front page of a local newspaper, he must have been a little confused.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the NBA is how different the league is in 2017 compared to its 1990s heydey. The league has been transformed from a league of superstar players to a league of superstars, and we’re all trying to figure out how this happened.In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Brooklyn Nets did not have it easy. Giannis Antitokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks have won their last two games, Kyrie Irving is out with an ankle injury, and James Harden, apparently still injured, was on the court for the first time since the first 43 seconds of Game 1. Then Kevin Durant showed up. In a heroic and historic Game 5, Durant carried the team on his shoulders and almost single-handedly won the game for Brooklyn. Now, on the eve of a possible Game 6 that could decide the series, the Bucs are looking for answers.
Kevin Durant had a historic game against the Milwaukee Bucks
Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo | Photo Stacy Revere/Getty Images In Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks, Durant put on an unforgettable performance. The superstar played every minute of the game and had a triple-double with 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. He’s just one point short of Durant’s playoff record and it’s only his fourth triple-double (40/15/10 or better) in playoff history. Only Oscar Robertson (1963), Charles Barkley (1993) and Luka Doncic (2020) have accomplished this feat before, according toStatMuse. None of these players scored 45 points or more on those attempts. Durant’s historic night helped the Nets erase a 59-43 deficit and turn the series, in which the Nets led 2-0 after the first two games, in their favor. It was a truly unstoppable performance from the former Thunder and Warriors star.
Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t seem to know how to stop Durant
I don’t understand… if you’re @Bucks …. are The only one I wouldn’t put up against us is Kevin Durant. Give him a double team every time. Jeff Green is going to have to throw up 40 points to beat us. I’m still shocked at Coach Bud’s strategy. – Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) June 16, 2021 After Game 5, Antitokounmpo sat dumbfounded at the post-game press conference. A reporter asked the two-time NBA MVP what the Bucks could have done differently on defense to stop Durant. Antetokounmpo, like a man looking for answers, turned the question around by asking the reporter: What’s your opinion? Let’s talk about it. The reporter quickly suggested two options: Durant, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, more on the defensive side and put the Nets star in a double-team defense to get the ball out of his hands. Oh, my God, Antitokounmpo replied, rubbing his head. I don’t know, man. The Greek monster then recited his own thoughts, but only managed to sound even more desperate: It’s hard. He is the best player in the world right now and we need to beat him as a team. We have to protect him as a team and force him to make tough throws, like we did today, and we just have to keep doing our job and hope he misses. Hoping Durant misses is not the answer Bucks fans were hoping for.
Durant needs one more heroic move to advance to the next round
Whether it’s Game 6 in Milwaukee or Game 7 in Brooklyn, Durant will have to don the Superman cape again if the Nets want to win this series. The Nets’ situation remains unchanged for the next game (or two, if necessary). There is no indication that Irving will return or that Harden will be anything more than an expensive decoy who can return a few more good passes. What’s most troubling to Durant is that Antetokounmpo and the Bucs could be following the advice of this intrepid reporter. I want to rise to the challenge, Antetokounmpo said, according to CBS Sports. I’d love to keep him in Game 6, and if the coach wants to, I’m willing to do that. 48 minutes against one of the few players in the league that can match him in athletic ability will make Game 6 a very different story for Durant. While the steady diet of P.J. Tucker, Jrue Holiday and Chris Middleton slowed Durant at times during the series, he had to play long stretches with Antitokounmpo. Antetokounmpo’s 34 points didn’t help the Durant Magic in Game 5. Now it’s up to the Bucs to see if their star can channel all of his defensive skills into KD and make a difference that way. Otherwise, they can only hope he misses. All statistics provided by Basketball Reference CORRESPONDS TO: NBA Trade Rumors Can Kristaps Porzingis join LaMelo Ball at the Charlotte Hornets?
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