Nets takeaways from Game 3 86-83 loss to Bucks, including a poor three-point shooting performance en
The Nets lost a hard-fought Game 3 to the Milwaukee Bucks 86-83, as the series is now 2-1 in favor of Brooklyn.
– Milwaukee started the game off strong, taking a 9-0 lead early on and forcing Nets head coach Steve Nash to call timeout. Brooklyn missed their first seven shots before Bruce Brown connected on a floater. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Khris Middleton had 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-3 from deep, as the Bucks led 30-11 after one. The Nets shot just 20.8 percent (5-of-25) from the field in the first quarter.
– The Nets started the second quarter on a 9-0 lead to cut into the Bucks lead. Brown scored eight straight points as the Nets trailed just 32-26 with 7:43 remaining. Kevin Durant found a rolling Joe Harris for three with 50.7 seconds left in the half to make it a one-possession game. Middleton then made a foul shot to put the Bucks up 45-42 at the half, as Brooklyn outscored Milwaukee 31-15 in the second quarter.
Brown led the team with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Kyrie Irving was the only other Net in double-digits at the break with 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
– Durant hit his first three of the night as the Nets trailed 55-54, forcing the Bucks to call timeout with 7:04 remaining in the third quarter. Durant was fouled by P.J. Tucker, as the two started arguing and were both issued technical fouls after being separated by officials.
Brown made another floater with 1:05 left that gave the Nets their first lead of the night, 65-64. Milwaukee regained the lead and went up 67-65 at the end of the third quarter.
– After starting 0-of-6 from beyond the arc, Antetokounmpo made his first three-pointer of the game to grow the Bucks’ lead to 74-70. Blake Griffin stole the ball from Middleton and found Brown down court for the easy dunk to tie the game at 74-74 with 7:21 remaining.
– Middleton broke a scoreless streak to put Milwaukee up 76-74, but Durant scored on the following possession to tie the game. Middleton hit another jump shot on the next time down the court, but Durant matched him once again to tie the game 80-80. Durant then hit a three with 1:23 left in the game to give the Nets an 83-80 lead.
Jrue Holiday made a spinning layup in transition to put the Bucks up 84-83 with 11.4 seconds remaining. Brown missed a driving layup and the Bucks got the rebound with 2.8 left. Middleton then went to the foul line and made both, putting Milwaukee up 86-83. Durant had a deep look, but his shot at the buzzer hit the back of the rim.
– Durant finished the game with 30 points on 11-of-28 shooting and 11 rebounds, Irving scored 22 points with five rebounds, and Brown finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Nets shot just 25 percent from three in the loss, going 8-of-32 from deep. Middleton led the Bucks with 35 points and 15 rebounds, while Antetokounmpo scored 33 points with 14 rebounds.
The Bucks coughed up a 21-point lead, but they came through in the end to avoid a disastrous 3-0 hole with an 86-83 win over the Nets.
Michael Malone believed his team would play a much different game on Wednesday. They did, but it was much worse.
MILWAUKEE (AP) Jrue Holiday made a go-ahead driving layup with 11.4 seconds left and the Milwaukee Bucks edged the Brooklyn Nets 86-83 on Thursday night to pull within 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Kevin Durant’s 3-point attempt to tie bounced off the rim as the horn sounded. Game 4 of the series is Sunday in Milwaukee.
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No second-round matchup had more advance billing than the Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks series that featured the NBA’s two highest-scoring offenses. Brooklyn has been every bit as potent as advertised in building a 2-0 lead. The Bucks’ chances of making this a competitive series depend on whether they can return home and regain the form they showed before these last couple of games.
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MILWAUKEE BUCKS: TAKEAWAYS FROM WIN OVER WASHINGTON WIZARDS
It was a Brooklyn blowout ... and a candidate for the best game in the history of the franchise. The Nets dominated from wire-to-wire. showing no mercy as they went up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Without James Harden — who was sitting along the baseline near the Nets bench — Brooklyn delivered a blowout win in front of a pandemic sellout crowd of 15,776, defeating Milwaukee, 125-86. At one point in the fourth, the Nets were up by 49 with the faithful alternately chanting, “Fifty, fifty!” and “Brook-lyn.”
“Whether you win by two or you win by 25, it’s just one game,” Steve Nash said. “We held homecourt. We performed well in the two games and for our group, we want to keep growing and getting better. We’re still very new with one another and there’s a lot of things we can continue to refine and improve. We’ll go and try to keep improving in Milwaukee.”
It was a historic performance for Kevin Durant — who picked up his fourth 30+ point game of the postseason with 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from deep. Durant also tallied six assists and four rebounds in the 33 minutes of play. The Nets superstar only trails Vince Carter — five in the 2006 postseason — for the most 30+ point games in a single postseason run in Nets history.
Kyrie Irving followed with a solid performance of 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from three to go with six assists and five rebounds in 34 minutes of play. While Irving delivered another box office performance, Bruce Brown — who started in replace of Harden — met expectations.
Brown had an efficient night filled with hustle plays and extra effort, finishing with 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists in 26 minutes. Brown shot 6-of-10 from the floor and went 1-of-2 from three in the dominant win.
Mike James — who is thriving in his increased role — had another productive outing off the bench with 10 points, three assists, and three rebounds in 24 minutes of play.
But once again, it was Blake Griffin who gave the Nets early impetus with two slams, one a throwback putback that was the first of many explosive moments in a long night of them. Griffin finished with seven points and eight rebounds as well as a steal and a block.
“He always plays with that good energy and fire to him,” said Bruce Brown about Blake. “As we know, they did count him out earlier this year. He’s got something to prove. He’s playing really well and he’s going to continue that.”
The Nets shot 52.1 percent from the field, 50 percent from three, and 86 percent from the line as a team in the Game 2 win while setting a new franchise playoff record with 21 three-pointers. Brooklyn had five players finish in double-figures and capitalized off Milwaukee’s 16 turnovers, translating to 23 points. The Nets maintained their 50/40/90 shooting splits for the post-season.
“We’re very special individually, but the selflessness is really what creates the difference,” said Kyrie Irving. “Defensively, we’ll win us games down the stretch. But offensively, playing the right way and trusting one another... This team, we’ve grown so much and we’ll continue to do so.”
For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and 0-of-3 from deep and another miserable night at the line, hitting only 2-of-7 from the line.
“We just competed. You talk about schemes and all that stuff but really our fight and level of competition. Guys being locked in, being aware of the game plan, and being able to take of details has been outstanding and it’s got to continue,” said Nash on the Nets defense against Antetokounmp. “They are going to raise their level and we got to raise ours as well.”
Khris Middleton with 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting overall and 3-of-8 from three but didn’t score his first point until late in the second quarter. The Bucks finished the loss shooting 44 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from deep and had five players in double-figures. In the end, holding Milwaukee to 86 points is a big achievement of defensive play.
“Really just make his shots tough. Just be physical with him, give him nothing easy, and really press him,” Brown said on defending Middleton in Game 2.
“The guys have worked hard at it to find our best level defensively. What works for us and how we are able to refine and improve it. Tonight was exceptional and our defense has been pretty solid throughout the playoffs, so it’s something to be proud of but we got to feel like underdogs down there and play with that heart.”
The Nets opened Game 2 hitting four of their first eight shots while the Bucks went 3-of-9 from the field and 1-of-3 from three. It didn’t take long for the Barclays Center crowd to get rocking with an exciting sequence. First, Griffin emphatically slammed home a two-handed putback slam followed by a midrange and one jumper by Durant to put Brooklyn up 13-7 with 7:24 remaining in the first.
“Great start. Guys were prepared, hungry, and not only played well but battled, fought, and scrapped. [They] did the little things that it takes to win,” said Nash on the strong first-quarter start.
The offense was clicking for Brooklyn following the two huge momentum plays. While Durant (13 points) and Irving (nine points) were rolling — scoring 22