Steve Nash put it pretty simply after Kevin Durant rang up 42 points against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
“Kevin’s Kevin,” said Nash.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t have the luxury of seeing Durant go to work on a daily basis, so he had a bigger reaction.
“What he does is unbelievable,’ said Antetokounmpo. “Being 6-11. Being able to shoot over everybody. The way he handles the ball and gets to his spot is unbelievable. The best I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Durant shot 16-for-33 and matched his career high with seven 3-pointers, grabbing 10 rebounds to make it a double-double in the 117-114 loss. Coming off another 42-point game against Indiana on Thursday, it was the fifth time in Durant’s career that he has scored 40-plus points in consecutive games, and he became the third player in Nets history to do so after Vince Carter and John Williamson.
In the fourth quarter, Durant scored 11 straight Brooklyn points to keep the Nets within striking distance. Antetokounmpo had a similar stretch for the Bucks, scoring Milwaukee’s first 16 points of the second half on the way to finishing with 49. But afterwards, he shied away from the notion of a scoring duel with Durant.
“I was not going back and forth with KD,” said Antetokounmpo. “Nobody in this world can go back and forth with KD. He’s been one of the greatest scorers to ever play this game. That’s not the game plan you want to go against. You’re going to his game. That’s where he wants to go.”
Sunday’s showing extended a stretch that has been remarkable, even by the lofty standards Durant has set. Since returning from a hamstring strain on April 7, Durant is shooting 61.3 percent overall and 59.1 percent from 3-point range, rising to a career-high 47.8 3-point shooting percentage from 3-point range for the season that has him ranked third in the NBA. With his minutes limited at times as he worked his way back first from the hamstring strain and then a thigh contusion that cost him three games, Durant has averaged 26.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in just 26.8 minutes per game, so he’s essentially averaging an unheard of point a minute.
“I’m just excited I get a chance to play after being off for so long with injuries,” said Durant. “Any game, especially games where it comes down to the wire, I’m super-excited just to be a part of those and tonight was one of those nights.”