While watching last night’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, I felt quite an usual feeling. I was both in awe and disgust at the same time.
I was in awe of Kevin Durant’s otherworldly performance.
He led an undermanned, Kyrie Irving-less, James Harden one-legged Nets squad to an improbable 114-108 come-from WAY behind win over the Bucks. He scored 49 points (on only 23 shots!), 17 rebounds and 10 assists — while playing the ENTIRE GAME.
I’ve seen Durant go off in games past, but not like this. He was never asked to shoulder the load like this — and come through. Not in a playoff game where his squad’s season was essentially on the line. Not when EVERYONE knew he was the only true weapon on the floor.
Y’all wanna know what disgusted me?
The were a couple to choose from. The Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer was one.
His refusal to double-team Durant when he REALLY got going. His allowing his team to go hero-ball by shooting unnecessary three point shots and not moving the ball around like they did in the first half.
Let’s be real, Milwaukee had no damn business losing last night’s game. If Milwaukee ends up losing this series, it will be all on Budenholzer and his inevitable firing would be more than justified.
But he didn’t disgust me as much as Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka “the Greek Freak”.
Yeah, I know the Greek Freak scored 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. But when we needed the Greek Freak the most, dude was just “Giannis”.
Antetokounmpo was guarded by smaller players THE ENTIRE GAME. How did he take advantage of that? Simple: he kept settling for jump shots instead of punishing the Nets and getting them into foul trouble.
Y’all remember that sequence when a one-legged James Harden (who goes 6’5″) guarded him in the post and WAVED OFF THE DOUBLE-TEAM HELP? You’d think Antetokounmpo would punish Harden, right?
Dude settled for a tough, turnaround jump shot over a dude he has at least 5 inches on. I screamed out loud when he did that.
Also, why didn’t Antetokounmpo check Durant in the second half? After all, Antetokounmpo was last season’s Defensive Player of the Year. And I don’t care if Antetokounmpo didn’t want to go against his coach’s wishes. If he’s THAT guy, he’d go to his coach during a timeout and proclaim, “I got him, Coach!”
As nice of a guy Antetokounmpo is, he will never EVER be a lead dog. Meanwhile, Durant is CLEARLY a lead dog.
No wonder Durant took issue with being mentioned in the same breath as Antetokounmpo…