With 2.1 seconds remaining in Thursday’s Recreation Three between the Bucks and Nets, Brooklyn had an opportunity to ship the competition to additional time. Fortuitously for Milwaukee, Kevin Durant’s desperation 3-pointer bounced off the again rim and fell safely to the ground, permitting the followers inside Fiserv Discussion board to let loose a collective exhale.
After the Bucks secured the victory, which trimmed the Nets’ Jap Convention semifinals result in 2-1, ESPN’s Mike Breen declared that they have been proper again within the collection. However with respect to the Corridor of Fame announcer, that appears a bit untimely.
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As a result of, actually, the Bucks should not have gained by a last rating of 86-83, and Recreation Three should not have come all the way down to the ultimate possession.
Mike Budenholzer’s squad began off with a bang, operating out to a 30-11 lead by the top of the primary quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton have been aggressive early on with 15 factors every within the opening body. (They accounted for 68 of Milwaukee’s 86 factors, the highest percentage of points by a duo in NBA playoff historical past.) It was precisely the kind of response the Bucks wanted from their stars after the Nets embarrassed them in Video games 1 and a couple of.
However then the dangerous habits from the earlier losses returned. Milwaukee fell into isolations in opposition to Brooklyn’s switch-heavy scheme slightly than shifting, passing and screening. Antetokounmpo, who completed with 33 factors and 14 rebounds, fired far too many pull-up 3-pointers. The Nets have been clearly blissful to let “The Greek Freak” do his greatest (worst?) Stephen Curry impersonation.
“I believe, the first quarter, [Antetokounmpo] was in assault mode. I believe the spacing, we have been higher,” Budenholzer said throughout his postgame media availability. “We bought 30 factors, after which from there, it was just a little little bit of a slugfest. So Giannis has simply bought to maintain discovering his spots, can get to second actions, third actions. He is simply going to maintain enjoying and making good choices and enjoying for his crew.”
The Bucks additionally benefited from an uncharacteristically poor Nets capturing evening, particularly contemplating Milwaukee was usually content material to stay to its drop scheme and provides Brooklyn clear appears to be like on the basket.
That is the issue with drop vs. Kevin Durant. It depends on the protection navigating the display and even then it is a 50/50 shot. KD capable of get to his spot and rise again to again instances. pic.twitter.com/8ntLGbIo6t
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) June 11, 2021
Kevin Durant totaled 30 factors, however he shot 11 of 28 from the sector. Kyrie Irving posted 22 factors and went 9 of 22. Maybe the most important shock was Joe Harris, who led the league in 3-point share through the common season, capturing 1 of 11 on area targets and 1 of seven on 3-pointers. If simply a few these pictures fall, the Bucks can be watching an insurmountable 3-Zero gap.
“It was actually easy. It was simply making pictures,” Durant said. “I believe we bought attractiveness. We bought to the paint. We made the additional go. And we simply [didn’t] make pictures. Typically, that is the secret.”
Milwaukee does deserve credit score for closing sturdy, although. Middleton (35 factors, 15 rebounds) and Jrue Vacation (9 factors, 5 assists, 4 rebounds) delivered clutch buckets down the stretch. It is price noting that these key factors got here off some precise halfcourt motion or in transition in opposition to a protection that wasn’t set.
As Antetokounmpo told reporters after Recreation 3, “A win is a win,” and the Bucks do not obtain additional credit score for fashion. However Milwaukee cannot anticipate to really compete with Brooklyn by counting on inconsistent execution and outlier capturing performances from its opponent. The Bucks have one win beneath their belts — the true problem begins now.
“On the finish of the day, if you play a basketball sport and also you win the sport, you take pleasure in [it]. However I believe we are able to play higher,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “We will play higher. We will play sooner. We will play extra collectively.”