Just about everyone in the NBA community was left in awe as Kevin Durant led a hobbled Nets team to a 114-108 win over the Bucks on Tuesday night — including Milwaukee’s best player.
After seeing Durant go off for 49 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and two blocks in Game 5, Giannis Antetokounmpo called the 11-time All-Star one of the “best scorers to ever play the game.” Oh, but his praise didn’t end there.
“He’s the best player in the world right now,” Antetokounmpo said during his postgame media availability. “We gotta beat him as a team. We gotta guard him as a team. We gotta make him make tough shots like tonight. We just gotta keep doing our job, and hopefully he’s gonna miss. But we gotta keep doing our job. We gotta keep guarding him together. We gotta keep showing, keep making it tough, keep picking him up full court.
“There’s gonna be times in the game when coach [Mike Budenholzer] tells us to double-team him, and we’re gonna double-team. But right now, we’ve gotta keep containing him as much as possible. But at the end of the day, he’s done an unbelievable job. Best player in the world, best scorer in the world.”
Durant played all 48 minutes of Game 5, but he only got stronger as the contest went on, scoring 31 of his 49 points in the second half. Durant did most of his damage with P.J. Tucker or Khris Middleton attempting (and failing) to slow him down. Antetokounmpo, the 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year, declared that he is ready to take his turn with Durant if Budenholzer calls his number.
“I want to take the challenge,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, everybody’s gonna have a chance to guard him, but I would love to go into Game 6, to be able to guard him. If coach wants me to do that, I’m ready for it.”
In five games against the Bucks, Durant is averaging 33.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. Yeah, good luck with that guy, Giannis.