Giannis Antetokounmpo has hailed Kevin Durant as ‘the best player in the world’ despite the Brooklyn Nets losing to Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7, while KD lamented his ‘big-ass foot’ for denying him a series-winning three-pointer.
The Bucks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night after a dramatic 115-111 victory at the Barclays Center, prevailing in overtime despite some heroics from Durant who put up 48 points.
With 1.6 seconds left on the clock, KD produced a spectacular turnaround shot that initially appeared to be a three, but his foot was on the line by mere millimetres and the game instead went to overtime.
A shattered and depleted Nets side were unable to hold off the Bucks, who progressed on the road, but Giannis – who top scored for Milwaukee with 40 points – was full of praise for Durant after the match.
‘I said it a couple of days ago, he’s the best player in the world,’ said Giannis. ‘He’s still the best player in the world.
‘We knew coming into this series we had to do it as a team, we had to guard him as a team, defend as a team, play offensively as a team and that’s what we did. We kept our composure throughout the whole series.’
On Durant’s shot to tie the game, he added: ‘Big, big shot. That’s KD, he makes shots like that.
‘You know, unfortunately I didn’t want to see the ball go in but the ball went in. So we went to overtime but we were able to keep our composure.’
Most of the Barclays Center thought Durant had secured a last-gasp win in regulation time, as did KD himself, but the Nets star’s size-18 shoes were touching the line by the barest of margins.
Asked if the shot ranks as one of his most memorable despite the defeat, KD replied emphatically: ‘Not at all. Not even close to the most memorable shot.
‘I thought it was a Tracy [three] but my big-ass foot was a step on the line.
‘I was just seeing a little screenshot of how close I was to ending their season off that shot. But it wasn’t in God’s plan and we move on. So it was a solid shot but I’ve hit way bigger shots than that.’
Reflecting on how much the Nets missed Kyrie Irving and James Harden at different points in the series, KD added: ‘I can’t even speak about how much we miss Kyrie out on the floor, and how much we missed James start of the series.
‘I could go for 40 minutes on both of those two on how much they care about us and how much they put their bodies on the line to help us a team. There’s nothing but respect and love for those two guys and we missed them out there but we still had a chance to win.’
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