The Milwaukee Bucks survived a tough shooting night by edging out the Brooklyn Nets 86-83 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The two teams struggled to put the ball in the hole in the final period until Khris Middleton and Kevin Durant started making shots.
Giannis Antetokounmpo broke out of a poor Game 2 performance to score 33 points and grab 14 rebounds. Meanwhile, Khris Middleton recovered from two consecutive bad outings to net 35 points, including a game-deciding two points from the free-throw line.
The Brooklyn Nets once again held the Milwaukee Bucks below 100 points but were also unable to make their own shots in Game 3. Though Kevin Durant scored 30 points, he made just 11 of 28 from the field.
Check out the five talking points from the exciting Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks game:
1. The Milwaukee Bucks were off to a quick start
The Milwaukee Bucks had an impressive first quarter. They held the Brooklyn Nets to less than double-digits for most of the quarter before scoring two more points in the final minute.
The Bucks' offensive and defensive clinic gave them a 30-11 lead at the end of the quarter.
2. Bruce Brown carries Brooklyn Nets
With his teammates heavily guarded by the Milwaukee Bucks, Bruce Brown took matters into his own hands.
The Brooklyn Nets came roaring back in the second quarter behind the play of Brown, who helped his team overcome a 21-point deficit in the first quarter. He was the team's leading scorer at the half, with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor.
Brown finished with 16 points for the game, to go along with 11 big rebounds. The Brooklyn Nets wouldn't have been in this game had it not been for the 6-foot-4 forward's play.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free-throw woes
After the issue was first brought up in the first round, Giannis Antetokounmpo was called for a 10-second violation while attempting a free throw. The Greek Freak took more than 13 seconds before taking a free throw.
Nobody from the Milwaukee Bucks argued about it, and it was featured in the national broadcast.
Giannis also air-balled a free-throw attempt and finished 4-of-9 from the line. The back-to-back MVP was able to make 14 field goals to make up for his difficulties at the line.
4. Kevin Durant vs. P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker gave Durant everything on defense, leading to the Brooklyn Nets superstar's poor shooting game. The physical defense not only bothered KD's shooting, but it also got him to respond negatively in the third quarter.
The two players had an altercation in the final five minutes of the quarter as they exchanged words following a foul by Tucker. They were each assessed a technical foul.
Thanks to Tucker's defense, Durant couldn't get going until the final 2:25 of the game.
5. Fourth-quarter drought by Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks
Whether it was bad shooting or great defense, both the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks struggled to shoot from the field in the fourth quarter. The score was 76-76 for almost four minutes before Middleton broke the drought with a jumper.
Middleton and Durant went mano-a-mano with a first-to-blink-loses shootout in the final two minutes. In the end, it was Middleton who made his mark with the two crucial free throws that gave the Milwaukee Bucks a three-point lead with 2.1 seconds to go.
Dear reader, could you please take a short, 30-second survey to help us improve and give you better NBA/basketball coverage on our site? Here's the link for it.