Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo went head-to-head in a classic duel on Sunday afternoon. The Nets lost on the road to Giannis and the Bucks in a 117-114 thriller. The team has now dropped its last two games. The Nets are no longer first place in the Eastern Conference after the loss as they now trail the Philadelphia 76ers for the top spot.
The Bucks, who were the East’s top seed last year are coming on late as a contender for this year’s conference crown. For the majority of the year, the Eastern Conference has been a seesaw between two teams, the Nets, and the Sixers. However, the Bucks are have recently started to make headway in the last leg of the season as they are just 2.5 games back of the East’s top spot.
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Giannis Says KD Is One of a Kind
Giannis and KD got involved in a battle of “anything you can do I can do better,” the closer that Sunday’s game got to crunch time.
Giannis finished with a season-high 49 points as KD poured in 42 points of his own in the epic duel. Durant now has consecutive 42-point games as he did the same thing when he last took the court against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. Durant continues to prove that he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, scorers of all time.
Giannis has become a prolific scorer in his own right as he has increased his scoring average every season since he entered the NBA in 2013. Despite his vast improvement as a scorer, Giannis still knows that he has a way to go before he can be mentioned with a scorer of Durant’s caliber.
And he took the chance to offer some advice and a warning to the rest of the league: Don’t get into a scoring duel with Durant.
“I was not going back and forth with KD. KD is one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game, you cannot play that way. If you go back and forth with a guy like that, he is going to score 50, 70, know what I’m saying,” Giannis said to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after the win.
“I just had a lucky night and at the end of the day, I was able to slow him down, get to my spots, kept being aggressive. But this game doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything to me, we play them again in two days. And like I said it’s a team that we are going to see in the playoffs if we want to go to the Finals but we gotta lock in and come ready whenever we play them.”
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KD Still Relishes Playing In Close Games
Durant had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer in the waning moments of the fourth quarter but unfortunately, the shot did not go down resulting in a second consecutive loss for his team. Durant however just relishes the opportunity to be a part of these moments as a player who has missed significant time over the last few seasons.
“I’m just excited that I get a chance to play after being out for so long with injuries. So any game especially games where it comes down to the wire, I’ve been super excited just to be a part of and tonight was just one of those nights,” Durant told reporters via SNY after the loss.
Durant and the Nets will have a shot at redemption when they play the Bucks again on Tuesday.