Kevin Durant had 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in one of the most spectacular performances in postseason history, sending the Brooklyn Nets back into the lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
With James Harden returning but delivering little offense and Kyrie Irving out, Durant played all 48 minutes and shot 16 for 23 from the field. He scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, perhaps the biggest shot a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left and the Nets protecting a one-point lead.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP became the first player in NBA history to have at least 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in a playoff game.
Harden played for the first time since leaving 43 seconds into the series opener with right hamstring tightness. He shot just 1 for 10 and missed all eight 3-pointers, but had eight assists and six rebounds while playing 46 minutes.
Jeff Green made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points for the Nets, who fell into a 17-point hole in this one after two losses in Milwaukee before Durant carried them back. Blake Griffin added 17 points.
Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee, where the Bucks are 4-0 against the Nets this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 12 rebounds, while Khris Middleton added 25 points.
Jokic headlines All-NBA First Team; Jayson Tatum not selected
The All-NBA teams were revealed Tuesday, with 15 players selected to the three all-league teams: MVP Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, and Kawhi Leonard earned first team honors, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, and LeBron James made the second team, and Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler, and Paul George rounded out the selection on the third team.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum missed out on his second All-NBA selection despite improvements to his scoring, rebounds, assists, and efficiency this season. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell was another notable absence, and the two each missed out on significant contract incentives as a result of their omissions.
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George each score 31, Clippers tie series with Jazz
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George know it takes the two of them to make things go right if the Los Angeles Clippers are going to advance beyond the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time. Both responded again on Monday night.
Leonard and George each scored 31 points Monday night to propel the Clippers to a 118-104 victory over the Utah Jazz and even their Western Conference second-round series at two games apiece.
“Myself and Kawhi got full trust in each other,” said George. “It’s opportunities for us to score when we get switches, but then there’s opportunities to allow our teammates to be aggressive and make plays for them when we can attack our mismatches. I think it’s just a healthy mix.”
Leonard and George also became fifth duo since the merger with 30 points each in back-to-back playoff games.
“These guys understand that we need them to be the head of the snake and be super aggressive,” said Marcus Morris Sr., who had 24 points and was 5 of 6 on 3-pointers. “Those guys are our leaders. We go as they go and they understand that. Guys have just been picking up the slack behind them.”
In a game that Los Angeles dominated all night, Leonard provided the highlight with his dunk late in the first half. He got the ball just beyond the 3-point line, drove past Royce O’Neale in the lane and then slammed it over Derrick Favors to give the Clippers a 62-38 lead with 1:24 remaining in the second quarter.
The dunk quickly went viral on social media and even caused Philadelphia star Joel Embiid to pause in the middle of his postgame remarks after the 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks.
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.