Bucks Blow Big Lead But Hang On Behind Solid Defense to Win Game 3

Bucks Vs Nets Lead Series Background

  • Bucks beat Nets 86-83 in 90’s playoff style defensive Game 3 at the Fiserv Forum.
  • Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 35 points while Giannis added 33.
  • Kevin Durant led Brooklyn with 30 points but missed the game-tying three-points at the buzzer.

The Milwaukee Bucks stayed alive in their best-of-seven second round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets with an 86-83 win in Game 3 on Thursday night.

Milwaukee raced to an early 30-11 lead at the end of the first quarter but saw the Nets chip away at their lead. Brooklyn cut the lead to three points at the half and it became a war of attrition in the second half.

Both teams struggled to shoot the ball but played excellent defense against each other, which was surprising since these two teams were known for their scoring prowess during the regular season.

In the end, it was Milwaukee who got the breaks of the game and made the shots that mattered to cut the Nets’ lead to 2-1. Game 4 will be on Sunday with the Nets opening as two point favorites at the BetOnline App. Brooklyn is still the -365 favorite to win the Series with the Bucks as the +285 underdogs.

Bucks Big First Quarter

Milwaukee started the game strong with a big first quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton scored 15 points each as Milwaukee raced to a 30-11 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Antetokounmpo and Middleton set the NBA playoff record for the most consecutive points scored by two teammates to start a playoff game in the last 25 years. They would finish the game with a combined 68 points or 79% of the Bucks’ total score in the game. That’s the highest percentage of a team’s total points by any duo in the history of the NBA playoffs.

Middleton led the Bucks with 35 points om 12-25 shooting after making only 13 of a combined 43 shots in the first two games of the series. Antetokounmpo added 33 but he was 1-8 from three-point distance and 4-9 from the foul line. Brook Lopez only had three points but was a force on defense with 11 boards and six huge blocks.

Jrue Holiday scored just nine points on 4-14 shooting but he made the biggest basket of the game in the clutch:

Not KD’s Kind of Night

Kevin Durant entered Thursday’s game averaging 40.3 points per game in his road playoff games since 2019. During that span, Durant had a shooting split of 58/51/90 on 70% true shooting percentage. While KD finished with 30 points it was not his night as he shot only 39% from the field and 37% from three-point distance.

Durant scored Brooklyn’s last nine points of the game, including this three-pointer that gave them an 83-80 lead with just over a minute left in the game:

However, that proved to be the Nets’ final points of the night. KD missed the game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points for the Nets. However, Brooklyn could not get the needed contributions from starters Blake Griffin and Joe Harris who combined to score only 8 points on an aggregate 3-16 field goal shooting. Harris made only one of seven attempts from behind the three-point arc.

The Nets’ 83 points in Game 3 was their lowest scoring production of the season. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s 86 points was tied for their lowest scoring game of the year. Milwaukee ad Brooklyn ranked 1 and 2 respectively in scoring during the regular season so it was surprising to see them combined to score just 169 points which was 65 points fewer than the betting total set for Game 3.

Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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