The Brooklyn Nets have been in a tough situation as of late. Despite having three of some of the most talented players in the league, the superstar trio hasn't been fully healthy. Less than a minute into Game 1 of the second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Nets guard James Harden went out with a hamstring injury.
Harden would go on to miss the Nets' next three games. Brooklyn went up 2-0 without Harden on the floor but fell short in Game 3. Despite taking on their first loss of the series, many believed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had it covered.
But in Game 4, another member of the trio went down and out. Kyrie Irving suffered an ankle injury on Sunday afternoon in the Game 4 matchup in Milwaukee. After leaving the game prematurely, Irving never returned to the court.
Durant, who took a lot of heat for not single-handily willing the Nets to a victory, saw his team fall short as the Bucks tied the series at 2-2. After the game, Brooklyn found out Irving was dealing with a sprained ankle. Shortly after, the Nets accepted that Irving was out for Game 5 on Tuesday night.
With Irving out, James Harden pushed through his hamstring pain and declared himself ready to play. After getting upgraded from out, to doubtful, to questionable, to active, Harden was inserted into the Nets' starting lineup on Tuesday.
Despite playing 45 minutes in Game 5, Harden was hardly himself. Shooting 1-10 from the field and not draining a single one of his eight three-point shots, James Harden put up just five points for Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
When the first half concluded, it seemed the Bucks were well on their way to taking advantage of the Nets' situation and picking up their third-straight win as they led Brooklyn 59-43 through two quarters, but Kevin Durant had other plans.
Suddenly, those Game 4 criticisms became bulletin board material for the former MVP. He might not have willed out a victory alone as Blake Griffin's 17 points and Jeff Green's 27 points off the bench were nothing to overlook, but Durant undoubtedly did everything for his team down the stretch.
After putting up 18 points in the first half, Durant switched gears and churned out 31 points in the second half. Not taking a single minute off throughout the entire game, Durant ended up with 49 points, shooting nearly 70-percent from the field on Tuesday. His contributions allowed the Nets to defeat Milwaukee 114-108.
Now, the Bucks are facing elimination. It's unclear if Durant and the Nets gave it all they had in Game 5 or not, but they'll have an opportunity to put the series away when they travel to Milwaukee on Thursday night.