With 2.1 seconds remaining in Thursday’s Game 3 between the Bucks and Nets, Brooklyn had an opportunity to ship the competition to time beyond regulation. Fortunately for Milwaukee, Kevin Durant’s desperation 3-pointer bounced off the again rim and fell safely to the ground, permitting the followers inside Fiserv Forum to let loose a collective exhale.
After the Bucks secured the victory, which trimmed the Nets’ Eastern Conference semifinals result in 2-1, ESPN’s Mike Breen declared that they have been proper again within the collection. But with respect to the Hall of Fame announcer, that appears a bit untimely.
Because, actually, the Bucks should not have gained by a last rating of 86-83, and Game 3 should not have come all the way down to the ultimate possession.
Mike Budenholzer’s squad began off with a bang, working out to a 30-11 lead by the tip 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 Games 1 and a couple of.
But then the unhealthy habits from the earlier losses returned. Milwaukee fell into isolations towards Brooklyn’s switch-heavy scheme reasonably 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 pleased to let “The Greek Freak” do his greatest (worst?) Stephen Curry impersonation.
“I think, the first quarter, [Antetokounmpo] was in attack mode. I think the spacing, we were better,” Budenholzer said throughout his postgame media availability. “We got 30 points, and then from there, it was a little bit of a slugfest. So Giannis has just got to keep finding his spots, can get to second actions, third actions. He’s just going to keep playing and making good decisions and playing for his team.”
The Bucks additionally benefited from an uncharacteristically poor Nets capturing night time, particularly contemplating Milwaukee was typically content material to stay to its drop scheme and provides Brooklyn clear seems to be on the basket.
This 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 in a position to 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 sphere. Kyrie Irving posted 22 factors and went 9 of twenty-two. Perhaps the largest shock was Joe Harris, who led the league in 3-point share through the common season, capturing 1 of 11 on subject objectives and 1 of seven on 3-pointers. If simply a few these pictures fall, the Bucks can be watching an insurmountable 3-0 gap.
“It was really simple. It was just making shots,” Durant said. “I think we got good looks. We got to the paint. We made the extra pass. And we just [didn’t] make shots. Sometimes, that’s the name of the game.”
Milwaukee does deserve credit score for closing sturdy, although. Middleton (35 factors, 15 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (9 factors, 5 assists, 4 rebounds) delivered clutch buckets down the stretch. It’s value noting that these key factors got here off some precise halfcourt motion or in transition towards a protection that wasn’t set.
As Antetokounmpo told reporters after Game 3, “A win is a win,” and the Bucks do not obtain further credit score for model. But 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 underneath their belts — the actual problem begins now.
“At the end of the day, when you play a basketball game and you win the game, you enjoy [it]. But I think we can play better,” Antetokounmpo stated. “We can play better. We can play faster. We can play more together.”