Kevin Durant silences critics with a 49-point masterpiece in Game 5 as the Nets take the lead in the 3-2 series

They said he had something to prove.

They can’t claim that he’s the best player in the game until he proves that Kevin Durant’s legacy is at stake and he can beat the big guys without the help of his superstar teammates. He said he couldn’t.

In the rusty and aggressive absence after Kyrie Irving was on the sidelines with an ankle sprain and James Harden missed four games, Durant played the best match in the playoffs the team needed most.

Durant scored the highest score in Nets playoff history, scoring 49 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 114-Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series. I made a comeback at 108. ..

With this victory, Nets took a 3-2 lead in the Best of Seven series. Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee.

Given that he led the net 17 points at some point, it may have helped a lot to break the spirit of Bucks.

Durant came here to be a teammate, not a solo superstar.

That’s what Harden understood. Harden designed a Houston-to-Nets trade in January this year, allowing him to play with Durant and Kyrie Irving. Harden was tired of going alone on a rocket. He wanted to team up with some superstar friends and see how good they were.

As a result, Harden returned to Durant on Tuesday night, despite the terrible hamstrings 10 days ago and having to finish Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals just 47 seconds after the start of the match. I pushed myself to participate. Along with Irving, who sprained his ankle, Harden didn’t want Durant to be burdened with winning the crucial Game 5 without both him and Irving.

“Yes, I think that’s what drives James here. He wants to play, he wants to win the championship,” Nash said before Harden’s status was announced Tuesday. “So I think it’s really hard to know how much he cares, how much time he spends, and how much effort he puts into this position. That’s the source of his motivation right now, and I think it. Understands and respects. James is driving this. “

Harden, however, was unable to advance his game. Instead, Durant got help from a very unlikely contributor. Leading the list was Journeyman Jeff Green, who played for 10 different teams. Green scored 27 points and hit 7 out of 8 3-point attempts.

Thirty minutes before the tip-off, Harden, who was listed as suspicious on Tuesday morning, was announced. He started the game but didn’t know how many minutes he could go.

What is known is that Durant is certainly the only perfectly healthy member of the Big Three to play in the largest NBA game ever played at Barclays Center.

With the rise of Durrants’ legacy, four-time NBA scoring champions win Nets in Game 5 without Irving and Durrants.

The fact that Durant has a great deal of power, the fact that he was pursuing challenges and championships and exercising his wandering eyes, clearly offended many. Too many things have suggested that if Durrants couldn’t beat Nets two more games, Durrants’ legacy would be forever compromised.

But such pressure does not seem to plague Durant. The way he saw it after Monday practice is that he has to go out and play hard like every night.

“You have to be ready to do everything, just like any other night,” Durant said.

More than any other night.