the Milwaukee dollars still breathe in the playoffs – barely.
Already led 2-0 in a series of Eastern Conference semi-finals against the brooklyn nets, and being left behind by 3 with 83 seconds to play in Game 3 Thursday night at the Fiserv Forum after a Kevin Durant 3 points, the Bucks scored the last six points of the game to come out with a 86-83 win to make your way through this top seven business.
And afterwards, Bucks keeps Jrue Holidays – who got the go-ahead with 11.3 seconds left – said that if Milwaukee were to continue to make it ugly to claim defensive victories in this series, the Bucks will be more than happy to do so.
“Defense first,” Holiday said. “Defense wins games and championships. I think being able to stop even with two seconds to go means a lot. They score 83 points, I feel like for us that’s the type of defense we are. want to play.
“If we have to ruin the game then we have to ruin it. But at the end of the day we want to be aggressive towards everyone.”
After the Nets pushed their way past the Bucks in each of the first two games of this series in Brooklyn, as the series returned to Milwaukee, it was clear from the start of the game that the home team were desperate to make sure the tone was different in this one. The Bucks, led by PJ Tucker, who spent most of the night babysitting Durant, came out much more aggressive – at both ends – to take a 30-11 lead, scoring 56 points in the final 36 minutes as Brooklyn slowly pulled back into the Thu.
The result was a game that looked more like something from the 1990s than the 2020s, with lots of solid defenses and long streaks with no made baskets on either side.
All that mattered in Milwaukee, however, was that Durant, who finished with 30 points but shot just 11 for 28 from the field, saw his last shot of the game hit the back of the rim when the buzzer sounded. sounded, allowing the Bucks to give themselves a chance to tie the series at two games apiece when those teams meet again on Sunday in Game 4.
“Shoot, man, they did what they were supposed to do: come out aggressive, back to the wall, and we had to weather this storm,” said Kyrie Irving, who collected 22 points in 45 minutes. “So they definitely put us on our heels for the rest of the game, just catching up, playing their style of basketball, and then they made some big, timely shots which got them going.
“But we had our chances in the home stretch. It was a possession-by-possession game. The two teams faced off. So it’s a good old, old-fashioned playoff game.”
Style points don’t count for anything in playoff games – which is a good thing, as this game wasn’t really overflowing with them. Only five players finished in double digits – Durant, Irving and Bruce brown (16 points) for the Nets, and Khris Middleton (35) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (33) for Milwaukee. For most of the first half, the rest of the Milwaukee roster combined to make a field goal. Things weren’t going much better for Brooklyn, who fell behind 30-11 after the first quarter, to come back into the game with a big second quarter.
Brown, who was Brooklyn’s unsung hero in this series after replacing the injured star James harden in the starting lineup, was successful several times throughout the game entering the float lane.
But in the dying seconds, Brown missed a pull-up jumper that could have given the Nets a 3-point lead with a 20.8-second lead, was beaten by Holiday for the lay-up with 11.3 seconds out. do then, after the Brooklyn nearly knocked down the incoming pass, Brown ended up putting the ball in the basket and missed a layup with 6.4 seconds left.
“It was a tough and tough playoff game where neither team was really shooting the ball well, creating some good opportunities,” said Nets coach Steve Nash.
“Someone was going to win ugly and that was them tonight.”
The only thing the Bucks focused on was getting a win, period, after two tough games in Brooklyn – especially the Crushing 39 points Milwaukee engrossed in Game 2. And while the Bucks managed to do it, it didn’t happen without a few tense moments.
Part of this was due to the lack of production from the rest of the Bucks offense, as the team outside of Middleton and Antetokounmpo combined to score 18 points on an 8-for-34 shot overall, including 2-for-17. on 3- range of points, and took (and missed) a single free throw.
“Try to get into the paint and shake things up,” Holiday said of his attacking state of mind, after scoring 4 in 14 and scoring 9 points in 46 minutes. “But I think at one point today I got a little discouraged because I get in there and put it there and my punches don’t fall.”
And that was in part due to Antetokounmpo’s continued struggles to shoot from both the perimeter and the free throw line. Antetokounmpo won a career-high 8-3 playoff game on Thursday – making it one, which happened early in the fourth quarter. He also went 4 for 9 from the foul line, and he was called for a 10-second violation for the second time in the playoffs, which removed another possible attempt from his ledger.
But Antetokounmpo has said that as long as teams play against him, he will have to keep making the right play – which he said would sometimes include taking 3s.
“It’s all about instinct,” said Anteokounmpo, who also had 14 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 turnovers in 43 minutes. “Basketball is about instinct. At the end of the day, my gut tells me it’s the right decision to make, I’ll live with that.
“It’s the same … like everyone else, if you wake up in the morning and think you need to drink a cup of coffee, and that’s what you wanna do, that’s what your instinct is what your soul tells you. Anyway, this is what you do. You know, no matter what happens next, because you live with the decision that you take.
“And at the end of the day I was just trying to make the right decision at the right time and today he was shooting 8 3s, and the next game he was shooting zero 3. Who knows? to make the right decision. “
After the Bucks managed to return to that series with a win, Antetokounmpo was just happy to be able to come home and celebrate a win that kept Milwaukee holding on to their chances of coming out of the second round. No team has come back from a 3-0 playoff deficit in NBA history.
“A victory is a victory,” he said. “Today we didn’t score a lot, but at the end of the day we got a win and that’s all we came for tonight. We knew it was a very, very difficult, and we needed this game as much as possible, and hopefully we get the next one.
“But at the end of the day, a win is a win. When you can go home and celebrate a W… it feels good.”