Milwaukee – Traps have shown they can dig themselves into deep holes and get out. However, this time, he buried himself much deeper.
The Nets briefly took the lead in the fourth quarter from a loss of 21 points. But they could not maintain that lead, losing to the Bucks 86–83 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals before a sell-out crowd of 16,310 at the Fischer Forum.
He said, ‘We have talked to the players about this. We know we are going to take his best shot,” Nets coach Steve Nash said before the game. “He will have his fans behind him.
“We have to enjoy the opportunity to play in adversity and play in a great environment. It really depends on the players to come up with a great attitude and try and enjoy the opportunity to play playoff basketball on the road against a team desperate to beat us. “
The Bucks looked more desperate, and behind the combined 68 points of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, they reduced the Nets’ series lead to 2–1. Game 4 will be here on Sunday.
Kevin Durant, who had 30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, hit a huge tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:23 to play, giving the Nets an 83-80 lead. But Blake Griffin was called for goal only six seconds later in Middleton’s attempt, and after Joe Harris and Bruce Brown missed jumpers, Jew Holiday to put Milwaukee further behind with 11.4 seconds in regulation. One drive became free.
There will be no overtime as Durant’s final 3-point effort bounces off the back rim.
After Holiday’s bucket was briefly lost from possession of the Nets, he got the ball back, but Brown missed a desperate driving attempt with 4.3 seconds to play. Brown was forced to commit a deliberate foul, and Middleton drove it off the line.
Middleton finished with a game-high 35 points, including 15 in the first quarter when the Bucks scored a 21-point cushion. Antetokounmpo added 33 runs and also scored 15 runs in the first quarter. His lay-up with 1:30 remaining in the first gave Milwaukee a 30–9 lead, with the Nets spending the rest of the game trying to pass.
“I think it’s important for us to hit first,” Nash said. “They’re desperate. So you’d expect them to hit and throw whatever we have; that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and take it.”
Even though the Nets had rallied from a pair of 20-point holes in the regular season, they couldn’t pull it off again on Thursday.
The Nets missed their first seven shots, with Antetokounmpo dunking them into the 9-0 hole in less than four minutes. The Bucks stung with their pride the way they should have played in the first two games. He attacked downhill and made his way to the rim – and was rewarded for it by the referee.
Griffin made his second foul with the Nets down 11-4, with 6:58 left in the first. After Durant’s turnover on the open court, Middleton scored 3 runs in a row, trailing the Nets 28-9.
An absurd acrobatic driving layup by Antetokounmpo earned a second foul from Nick Claxton and made it 30-9 with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter (Antetoconampo missed the free throw).
But it was only when the Nets finally settled down with a 9-0 run that ended the first quarter and the start of the second quarter.
With Bucks center Brooke Lopez falling deep, Brown hit four straight floaters—two of them as part of a two-man game with backup point guard Mike James. A 15-2 nets run pulled him within 3-26.
Antetokounmpo – who pulled a third foul on Griffin with a strong drive to the rim – was really hit with a 10-second call to the free-throw line. And while Brown immediately began digging in to help the Greek freak’s spin move, it helped force several crucial stops that took the nets out in transition.
After trailing 21, the Nets were occupied within 45–42 by halftime.
Coming off the break, the game became even more physical and playful. Surviving a possession after offensive rebounds by Harris and Brown, Durant tied it with a 3-pointer at 57-all. A few seconds later, he folded his hand for a foul by PJ Tucker. The Rugged Bucks disagreed with the call and got into a face-off with Durant.
Team security to Tucker, and “F-K KD! F-K KD!” It rained from the stand.
It was the rest of the way, with 6:09 in the game as Durant was notched on a 76-all on the pull-up. No one scored for an eternity, the Nets missing three straight shots with a pair of turnovers and Milwaukee bricked seven in a row.
Middleton finally broke the dry spell with 2:40 to play, but Durant made it through with a baseline jumper. Middleton scored again, and Durant answered again.
and then. It was Durant’s huge 3-pointer with 1:23 to give the Nets an 83-80 lead.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points after the first half, missing a game-tying 3-pointer chance on the buzzer.