Nets vs. Bucks: Khris Middleton’s heroic Game 3 effort helps save Milwaukee season

MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Milwaukee dollars‘best player, but when they really need a bucket they give the ball to Khris Middleton. It was evident in Game 1 against the Miami heat when Middleton hit a winner at the last second, and it was again evident Thursday night in Game 3 against the brooklyn nets, as Middleton ramped up down the stretch to save the Bucks’ season.

Middleton’s 35 points and 15 rebounds were both highs and helped Bucks escape with an 86-83 win in one of the ugliest playoff games in a long time. The crucial victory reduced the series deficit to 2-1, and the Bucks will now have a chance to level things off on Sunday in Game 4.

“He did a few big ones,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Both teams were fighting for every bucket they could get, so Khris was able to put us in a position where we had a chance to win, and then Jrue with a big late basket. So some good plays from these two guys. “

After a brilliant start, in which Middleton and Giannis each scored 15 points in the first quarter to give the Bucks a 30-11 lead, the game turned into a breeze. At some point in the fourth quarter, things got so bad that no one scored for more than three minutes, and the normal anxiety that hangs in the arena during a big playoff game increased with every misfire. .

With less than three minutes to go, the game was tied 76-76, and he felt perfectly prepared for a devastating Kevin Durant run to spoil the night of the Bucks. This push came, only it wasn’t good enough because Middleton was quite his equal.

First, a pull-up on Bruce brown off the pick-and-roll with Giannis to put the Bucks at 78-76. It wasn’t the most important basket of the game, but it was right up there considering the Bucks hadn’t scored in four minutes and 22 seconds.

Then, after Durant tied him up with his own bucket, Middleton hit another pull-up on Brown to give the Bucks an 80-78 advantage.

Then, once Durant pulled off a 5-0 flurry to put the Nets in front of 83-80 with less than 90 seconds to go, Middleton delivered again. Loss Joe harris with a quick tear, Middleton moved to the edge for a layup that was goalie and reduced the deficit to 83-82.

“For the most part, those are shots that I got in Games 1 and 2 in Brooklyn,” Middleton said. It was just a matter of sticking with it, taking a few of the same shots and having the confidence to turn them around. ”

Later after Jrue Holidays had the Bucks in the lead, and they were hanging on to a one-point lead, Middleton crossed the line for two massive free throws. It might be easy to tell now, long after the fact, but there really was never the slightest doubt – neither of him nor of anyone in the building – that they were going to enter. And they did, to put the Bucks up three.

In total, Middleton scored eight of the Bucks’ last 10 points in the final two minutes and forty seconds of the fourth quarter. But what is perhaps even more telling is that he made five of their seven field goal attempts during that streak.

Even with a double MVP right next to him, even after scoring 13 of 39 in Games 1 and 2 of this series, he’s who the Bucks trust to bring them home. When the game is on, it’s Middleton’s time. The team believes in him, and more importantly, he believes in himself.

“I feel like I can score in different ways,” said Middleton. “These are the punches they want me to take. I’m confident. I think I’m good enough. I worked a lot on those punches to bring them down, and they fell for me tonight.”

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