KEY POINTS

  • Kyrie Irving and James Harden have been ruled out for Game 5
  • Kevin Durant will have to carry the scoring load
  • The Brooklyn Nets face an uphill battle against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday

Wherever franchise star Kevin Durant goes, the balance of power in the NBA shifts a little in their direction.

When he left the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer prior to the 2016-2017 season, Durant received a ton of backlash for joining the Golden State Warriors who were fresh off blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.

He proceeded to win two Finals MVPs to go along with his two rings as the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers had no answer for the 7-foot forward.

Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving Nets Kyrie Irving #11 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets watch from the bench during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena on February 16, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Gifted with an offensive arsenal that is perfect for the modern era of basketball, Durant joined Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets this season alongside former OKC teammate James Harden.

The path to a title has never looked clearer for the Nets franchise as having three of the most feared scorers in the league today would certainly bring the odds in their favor.

However, things look to have hit a snag as untimely injuries to Irving and Harden have left Durant all alone for Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Ankle sprains usually take around one to two weeks to fully heal and hamstring tightness--such as the one sustained by Harden, it takes about a couple of days to fully recover.

The Nets have gone on record that they won’t be rushing both guys back, showing their full belief in Durant and the rest of the team.

The short-handed Nets are being counted out by many, yet Durant remains unfazed.

“We can have as many speeches as we want to give, but pretty much around this time, every team is going out there and just playing the game,” said Durant. “We’ve got a game plan we wanna execute and it’s simple as that. We try not to add too much extras on anything. We all know what this game is about and we know what time it is – it’s [the] playoffs.”

Durant is averaging 29.8 points in the series and he will definitely be needing the help of guys such as Joe Harris, Mike James and Bruce Brown to carry the load in Irving and Harden’s absence.

Their backs are certainly against the wall for the first time all season long, but Durant is fully invested in this team and he’ll do whatever it takes to pull out a series win.

If Durant has to torch defenders from the post, pull up from three on a fast break or hit the kickout pass to his shooters, he has to do it if they want a chance to knock off the Bucks.

It will be an uphill battle that will surely further bolster his legacy as he faces Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in Game 5.