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Nets Bucks 86 83 Brooklyn Comes Up Short in Game 3

Nets Bucks 86  83 Brooklyn Comes Up Short in Game 3

Bucks, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, bucks vs nets

Nets Bucks 86 83 Brooklyn Comes Up Short in Game 3

Nets vs. Bucks – Game Recap – June 10, 2021 – ESPN Thu, 10 Jun 2021 18:00:00 -0700-The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 86-83, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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Steve Nash described the Brooklyn Nets’ performance on the offensive end in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals as “uncharacteristic” and that might have applied to the entire affair.

The Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks were the NBA’s two highest scoring teams this season — both surpassed the league’s previous record for offensive efficiency — but both got stuck at that end before the Bucks pulled out an 86-83 win that cut Brooklyn’s lead in the series to two games to one with Game 4 due on Sunday.

“These are two elite offensive teams that played in the 80s,” said Nash. “They had a better start than us. I felt like they got a better quality of shots at times than we did. But it could have gone either way. We went really cold at the end of the game. We’ll pick it apart. We’ll look at it. We’ll try to execute better, look at ways that we can learn from this game and move forward. It was a tough, tough playoff game where neither team was really shooting the ball well, creating good opportunities. Someone was gonna win ugly and it was them tonight.”

The Nets fell behind by 21 points in the first quarter before getting back within three at halftime, setting up a second half that was a one-possession game for the final 22 minutes. Brooklyn went up 83-80 on Kevin Durant’s 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining before the Bucks scored the game’s final six points, coming up empty on two possessions in the final 10 seconds after Milwaukee took the lead.

“I just think we didn’t make shots down the stretch,” said Durant. “We made a couple but I think we got some good looks. I think we rushed a couple opportunities there. I like how we clawed back into the game but I hate how we even started off that way. I wish we’d have made a couple more plays down the stretch, but that was a tough one.”

The Nets have held the league’s highest scoring team to 86 points in consecutive games and an average of 93.0 points for the series as Milwaukee has shot 42.2 percent overall and 22.7 percent from 3-point range. That includes Thursday night’s 37.8/19.4 shooting split.

“We were pretty solid again,” said Nash. “That’s three games now where I thought our defensive effort was good. It’s interesting that we lose a game because of our offense but it was just a tough game. We just couldn’t find a rhythm. A great opportunity for us to learn and grow from this. The defense was solid though, but we’ve gotta clean it up both ends of the floor but particularly offensively.”

That was the surprising part, with the Nets having surpassed even their offensive numbers from the regular season through their first seven playoff games. But they struggled at the start in scoring just 11 first-quarter points and shot just 36.2 percent and 25.0 percent from 3-point range for the game.

Durant led Brooklyn with 30 points plus 11 rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Kyrie Irving scored 22 points with five assists and three steals. Bruce Brown had 16 points and 11 rebounds, career playoff highs in both categories for his first career playoff double-double.

“We’ve just got to look at the way we executed,” said Nash. “I thought we didn’t make shots. We had some looks that we just didn’t make that we normally make, but I thought our execution could have been better throughout. Great experience for our guys, like we said a new group, they’re still learning, they’re still figuring things out together and so it’s a great experience for us even if it was a painful one.”

Milwaukee scored the game’s first nine points and led 30-9 in the final minute of the first quarter. After Durant scored the final basket of the first quarter, the Nets scored the first seven of the second quarter on consecutive Irving jumpers and a Landry Shamet 3-pointer to quickly bring the Nets within 12 points.

After Jrue Holiday’s jumper for the Bucks, Brown scored eight straight points in the paint for the Nets. Giannis Antetokounmpo made 1-of-2 from the line for Milwaukee and then Mike James finished a drive and Brown again scored off the roll. Durant made 1-of-2 from the line and the Nets were within 33-31 with 4:25 to go in the half. The Nets made nine of their first 11 shots in the second quarter and outscored the Bucks 20-3 over the first 7:35.

With Milwaukee back up 44-37, Durant made two free throws and Joe Harris hit a 3-pointer to make it 44-42 before the Bucks went into the break leading 45-42. Taking advantage of Brown finding space in the paint, Brooklyn shot 61.9 percent in the second quarter (13-for-21) to bounce back from its shooting struggles at the start but couldn’t get back to that rhythm after halftime.

“I think we missed good looks,” said Durant. “We got some early on. I guess we were just hoping the next shot went in and then they got up 15 and then we’ll come down and get a good look and then they miss and now they out on a long rebound so it just didn’t work out for us to start the game. I like how we stayed with it. That’s just probably the name of the game for us in the playoffs is continue to keep pushing, keep fighting, each and every possession and it will turn for us. So tonight it turned for us a little bit but we definitely didn’t get over the hump the way we wanted to.”

Brooklyn finally got even with a Durant 3-pointer tying the game at 57 with five minutes to go in the third quarter. Another Brown floater had the Nets in the lead for the first time at 65-64 with a minute to go in the quarter before Khris Middleton made three free throws to give the Bucks a 67-65 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Nets went up 70-69 early in the fourth quarter after Irving connected for a 3-pointer and a baseline jumper, and with the Bucks back up 74-70, Durant posted up for a turnaround jumper and Brown dunked off a breakout from a turnover to tie the game at 74 with 7:21 to go.

With the game tied at 76 with under three minutes to go, Durant and Middleton traded baskets to bring the game to another tie at 80 apiece with just under two minutes to go before Durant’s 3-pointer put the Nets in the lead. But then Middleton drew a goaltending call on a drive and Holiday scored in transition to put the Bucks up 84-83 with 11.4 seconds left. Middleton then made two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining.

“We had ample opportunities,” said Nash. “We were back in the game the whole second half. We had a ton of good looks at the end of the game. Probably didn’t execute as well as we’d like. We still got good looks. We didn’t make any of them, it felt like. Just one of those nights where maybe we didn’t execute well enough, didn’t have enough poise, but plenty of stuff we can work on and get better at.”

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Bucks 86, Nets 83: Brooklyn Comes Up Short in Game 3 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 18:00:00 -0700-Get a recap of the Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks basketball game.

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Nets vs. Bucks

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Bucks survive Nets' comeback with critical Game 3 win (2:05)

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 33 points and Khris Middleton adds 35 of his own to help the Bucks cut the series deficit to 2-1. (2:05)

MILWAUKEE — — Jrue Holiday figured the Brooklyn Nets expected him to call a timeout as soon as he got the ball with his team trailing by one in the final minute.

Instead, Holiday delivered just in time to keep the Milwaukee Bucks from falling into a hole from which no NBA team has ever recovered.

His driving layup with 11.4 seconds left put the Bucks ahead for good and they held on for an 86-83 victory Thursday night that cut Brooklyn's lead to 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I felt like maybe they thought I was going to call a timeout,” Holiday said. “I think in my head, I was thinking maybe I should run some clock. But I saw Bruce Brown one-on-one, so I made a move. It was a good one and I ended up getting a layup.”

Kevin Durant’s 3-point attempt to tie bounced off the rim as the horn sounded. He scored the Nets’ last nine points and finished with 30.

The Bucks will try to even the series Sunday in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee relied on its defense as a game featuring the NBA’s two highest-scoring teams from the regular season turned into a 1990s-style defensive slugfest.

Brooklyn had its lowest scoring output of the season. Milwaukee matched its lowest point total of the season from its 125-86 Game 2 loss.

“Someone was going to win ugly,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “And it was them tonight.”

Khris Middleton scored 35 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 33 for the Bucks. Middleton bounced back in a big way after shooting a combined 13 of 43 in the first two games of the series.

That was barely enough.

“At the end of the day, a win is a win,” Antetokounmpo said. “It doesn't matter if you win by 30. It doesn't matter if you win by one. You can go back home and celebrate the ‘W.’ “

The Bucks raced to a 21-point lead but had to come from behind, scoring the final six points after Durant's 3-pointer made it 83-80 with 1:23 to play.

“We didn't make shots down the stretch,” Durant said. “I think we rushed a couple opportunities there.”

Holiday scored just nine points and shot 4 of 14 but made the biggest basket of the night.

Brooklyn led 83-82 when Brown missed a jumper with just over 20 seconds left. Antetokounmpo got the rebound, the Bucks worked the ball upcourt and Holiday drove to the basket to put Milwaukee ahead for good 84-83.

Milwaukee's defense took over from there as it continued its resurgent performance after the Game 3 fiasco.

“I think part of it is playing desperate, knowing the situation, knowing what this game means to us and what it means to be home,” Holiday said. “And then the other part of it is the performance we had the first two games, showing that's not the type of defense we play. That was really out of character.”

After Brown missed his own driving layup attempt with just over 6 seconds left, Middleton got the rebound. Middleton made a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.

Kyrie Irving scored 22 and Brown had 16 for the Nets in a game that neither team led by more than five in the second half.

“That's a good old-fashioned playoff game right there,” Irving said.

TIP-INS

Nets: Brooklyn was again without nine-time All-Star James Harden (right hamstring tightness) and Jeff Green (plantar fascia strain). Harden got hurt in the opening minute of Game 1. Green hasn’t played since Game 2 of the Nets’ first-round series with the Boston Celtics. … Joe Harris was 1 of 11 overall and 1 of 7 on 3s after averaging 16 points in the first two games.

Bucks: Brook Lopez scored just three points but had 11 rebounds and six blocks. … Antetokounmpo was 1 of 8 on 3-point attempts and 4 of 9 on free throws, and he had a 10-second violation on a free throw for the second time in this postseason. He's 6 of 19 on free-throw attempts this series. … The Bucks were playing a home game with fans filling all the seats for the first time this season. The crowd included Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones and outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith as well as former Packers receiver Antonio Freeman. Fiserv Forum was at 50% capacity for the Bucks' first-round series.

GETTING TESTY

With the game going back in the forth in the second half, emotions were high on both sides.

After P.J. Tucker got called for fouling Durant in the third quarter, Tucker started complaining about the call. That led to Tucker and Durant jawing at each other as they got face to face, with officials calling a double technical on the two players.

LONG-RANGE STRUGGLES

Although the Bucks won the game, their problems from 3-point range continued.

The Bucks went 8 of 27 from beyond the arc Thursday and are 20 of 88 on 3-point attempts in this series. Milwaukee made a franchise-record 14.4 3-pointers per game during the regular season.

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Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

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– June 11, 2021
Bucks, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, bucks vs nets

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