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Kevin Durant, Nets

Let’s give a round of applause to Nets star Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets just suffered a heartbreaking Game 7 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, with Kevin Durant’s final desperation shot falling well short. After trading for James Harden earlier this season to form a formidable Big Three, the Nets failing to get out of the second round is a major disappointment, with injuries nuking their NBA title hopes.

However, despite Durant coming up small in overtime in Game 7, let’s give the man a round of applause for his ridiculous performance throughout Game 7 and the series. While some doofuses have questioned Durant’s ability to lead a team without superstar talent around him, what KD did against the Bucks with Harden and Kyrie Irving injured was nothing short of spectacular. There shall be no slander here.

Kevin Durant averaged 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 42.7 minutes per game in the series. He shot 49.7% from the field and 35.2% from 3 despite that heavy minutes load and the Bucks trying to beat him up physically. P.J. Tucker and others did their best to try to slow KD down, but it was mostly for naught.

Durant’s Game 5 triple-double was the stuff of legends, with 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in 48 minutes. That performance was without Irving and featured a gimpy Harden who could barely move, and KD led a monster comeback when it looked like the Nets were dead in the water.

KD was also historic in Game 7, playing all 53 minutes and setting a record by scoring 48 points. He was inches away from winning the series with a game-winning 3-pointer in regulation, and it’s crazy to think that was possibly the difference between going home and a championship. If that clutch shot was a 3-pointer instead of a 2, the Nets move on, get healthier and become the clear title favorite once again.

Unfortunately it wasn’t, but we’re not going to blame Kevin Durant for that. Hitting that shot to begin with was ridiculous. Plus, if Durant got just a tiny bit more help, the Nets win the series anyway. Harden battled and played massive minutes despite his hamstring issue, but he was nowhere close to being himself. No Irving for the last three and a half games was brutal. Joe Harris turning into a pumpkin and shooting 8-of-33 from 3-point range over the last five games of the series was a killer, with his Game 3 egg especially painful in an ugly three-point loss.

That the Nets were in position to beat the Bucks was a testament to Durant’s greatness, made even more impressive by the fact he was coming off an Achilles injury this season. While he finally ran out of gas in the Game 7 overtime, being so great while playing so many minutes is bonkers stuff. It’s why he’s an all-time great and will go down as one of the very best scorers ever.

So, once again, let’s give a round of applause to Kevin Durant. It was great to see him back on the basketball court this season, and it was a pleasure to watch him go to work in this series.