Kevin Durant's Top 5 Games
Checking out the top performances during the 2020-21 season
Nobody who saw Kevin Durant play up close in the months before he made his official return to NBA action with Brooklyn’s season opener back on Dec. 22 said he looked any different than the brilliant scorer who had been one of the world’s best players for more than a decade before missing the 2019-20 season as he recovered from injury, with four scoring titles, nine All-NBA honors, two NBA titles and NBA Finals MVPS, and a league MVP on his resume.
Right from the start, when everybody else got to take a look, Durant showed the same to the rest of the NBA world. In his first season on the court with the Nets, Durant averaged 26.9 points while matching his career high with a 53.7 shooting percentage and finishing seventh in the NBA with a career-high 45.0 3-point percentage. He also shot 88.2 percent on free throws with 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
Here’s a look at Durant’s top five performances of the year, in chronological order:
Nets vs. Hawks, December 30
Durant looked like he’d never been away over the first three games, putting up a pair of 29-point games before sitting out the second half of a back-to-back. Then he dropped this gem that was one assist short of a triple-double: 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting in a 145-141 shootout win over Atlanta, with 11 rebounds and nine assists, plus a steal and a block. This tipped of a stretch of 13 games in which Durant topped 30 points nine times.
Nets at Nuggets, May 8
Midway through a late-season, five-game road trip, Durant put the brakes on a four-game slide and started the Nets on a five-game winning streak to close the regular season with this 125-119 win against the Nuggets. Durant went for 33 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, plus 12-of-13 from the foul line. He made it a double-double with 11 rebounds and added seven assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Nets at Celtics, May 30
It’s KD, so naturally the last three come from a brilliant playoff run in which Durant averaged 34.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals in 40.4 minutes per game. After the Celtics had won Game 3 in Boston, the Nets took a 3-1 series lead with a 141-126 win as Durant scored 42 points on 14-of-20 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, plus 11-of-11 on free throws. He added five assists and two blocks.
Nets vs. Bucks, June 15
No player in NBA history put up the stat line that Durant did in the 114-108 Game 5 win over the Bucks: 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. He shot 16-of-23 from the field, 4-of-9 from 3-point range, and 13-of-16 from the line with three steals and two blocks while playing all 48 minutes. With the Nets down 16 at halftime after having lost the previous two games in Milwaukee, Durant scored 31 points in the second half and 20 in the fourth quarter. He hit 3-pointers 42 seconds apart around the eight-minute mark, both putting the Nets in the lead. With Brooklyn up by a point as the clock dipped under a minute to go, Durant beat the shot clock with another 3-pointer for a 109-105 lead with 50 seconds to go.
Nets vs. Bucks, June 19
For the second time in three games, Durant went the distance, playing 53 minutes as Game 7 went to overtime. His turnaround jumper with a second remaining sent the game to overtime tied at 109 before the Nets lost 115-111. Durant scored 48 points with nine rebounds and six assists.
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