2021 Playoffs: East Semifinal | Nets (2) vs. Bucks (3)
Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Thursday, June 17, 2021
Get ready for Thursday's Game 6 between the Nets and Bucks on ESPN with five key stats to know about the matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• Kevin Durant had a game for the ages in Brooklyn’s Game 5 win as he finished with 49 points on 69.6% (16-23) shooting, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and two blocks. Durant became the first player in NBA history to record 45+ points, 15+ rebounds and 10+ assists in a playoff game. His 49 points also marked a new Nets’ franchise record for points scored in a playoff game, previously set by Vince Carter (43 points vs. Miami, May 8, 2006). Durant also became the first player to play all 48 minutes in a playoff game since LeBron James (May 27, 2018 vs. Boston).
• PJ Tucker was the primary defender on Durant once again in Game 5, guarding him for 9:19 (61% of Durant’s offensive matchup time) and allowed only 13 points (26.5%) and forced two turnovers. In just 40 seconds of matchup time (4.3%) with Brook Lopez, Durant scored 12 points on 5-5 shooting. Tucker has defended Durant for 39:44 through the first five games of the series – the most time any player has defended Durant during the postseason since matchup data became available in 2018 (Trevor Ariza 37:27 over seven games in 2018; Jrue Holiday 34:47 over five games in 2018; Tucker 30:04 over five games in 2019; Jayson Tatum 26:21 over five games in 2021).
• What will Durant have in store for an encore after his historic performance in Game 5? In 30 career close-out games, Durant is 20-10 and has averaged 40.4 minutes, 31.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg. 4.2 apg, 49.6 FG%, 37.4 3P%, 90 FT%. He has one 50-point close-out game, 4 games with 40+ points and 17 games with 30+ points.
• While Kyrie Irving remains sidelined (ankle), James Harden (hamstring) is available to play in Game 6 as the Nets try to advance. Harden played 46 minutes in Game 5 – his first action since leaving after just 43 seconds in Game 1 of the series – and finished with just five points on 1-10 shooting (0-8 from 3-point range). However, Harden did dish out eight assists that produced 21 points for the Nets. Jeff Green who missed the first three games of the series provided a huge lift in Game 5, scoring 27 points off the bench as he shot 7-8 from 3-point range. What can Harden and Green give the Nets in Game 6 on one day of rest?
• After shooting 20-88 (22.7%) from 3-point range in the first three games of the series combined, the Bucks have found their 3-point shot over the past two games. After making 16 3s on 34% shooting in their Game 4 win, the Bucks shot 13-32 (40.6%) in Game 5; it was only the seventh loss in 31 games this season (regular season and playoffs combined) when shooting at least 40% from beyond the arc (24-7).