This Game 3 is of paramount importance to the Bucks who, if they were to lose to the Nets, would almost give up a participation in the conference final. No room for error for Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates, then.

And the least that can be said is that the “Greek Freak” is aware that his team has their backs to the wall (or almost). Like his two huge penetrating dunks, Giannis Antetokounmpo rules the racquet despite his weakness on free throws. Accompanied by a sharp Khris Middleton at mid-distance, and also well back in his game, the double MVP quickly gave the Bucks a ten-point lead (13-4). Opposite, the Nets are unrecognizable offensively, including starting this part by four minutes without the slightest basket!

The festival of Giannis Antetokounmpo (15 points) and Khris Middleton (15 points) does not weaken over time, 3 points, halfway and inside. Authors of all (!) Milwaukee’s points in this first quarter, the two All-Stars are just unstoppable in attack. At the same time, Brooklyn continues to rack up losses and misses, producing one of its worst offensive performances of the season so far.

But in the second act, the roles switch and everything changes. A 7-0 run, instigated by Kyrie Irving, first allowed the Nets to gain confidence on offense. Before the surprising Bruce Brown (12 points, 6 rebounds), like a hybrid pivot, came out of his box by finding the flaw five times (!) In the painting, after putting down his screen. A system as simplistic as it is effective, which confuses Brook Lopez and which above all brings the New York franchise to a possession of the Bucks, now unable to register any basket and who persist in drawing 3-points (33-30 ).

This is when the encounter finally balances out. On the one hand, Khris Middleton resumes his march forward, especially his mid-distance recital. On the other hand, Kyrie Irving responds to him in the same area of ​​the pitch, masking Kevin Durant’s dirty night as best he can. In the midst of this elegant duel, Bobby Portis and Nicolas Claxton made the inside talk, with dunks, while Jrue Holiday and Joe Harris traded 3-points.

And at halftime, if Milwaukee is still ahead, Brooklyn has nibbled its delay and is now not very far (45-42).

The return of the locker room is marked by the awakening of a man: Kevin Durant. Ghostly in the first half, because terribly awkward, “KD” finally finds skill, without deviating in one feature from his principles: shooting, whether it’s halfway or 3-point. To stand up to the Nets and their All-Star winger, the Bucks rely heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who takes over his racket demolition business with dunks and penetrations. The debates thus remain very balanced (55-54).

In an electric atmosphere, like this front-to-front between Kevin Durant and P.J. Tucker, Milwaukee tries to break away from the scoreboard, but Brooklyn sticks together almost immediately. The New York players then have a few options to gain the advantage, but they constantly spoil them, before the precious Bruce Brown does. In the midst of Brook Lopez’s blocks, Khris Middleton’s percussion or Kevin Durant’s successes, the two teams finally continue to tie the game, twelve minutes from the end (67-65).

In the fourth quarter, the defenses are in place and baskets are scarce in attack, unlike the loss of balls, which accumulate. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant try to take the game on their own, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is watching, especially at 3 points, after his countless hiccups behind the arc. As the “money-time” approaches, nothing has yet been done between the Bucks and the Nets in this very defensive Game 3 (76-76).

In the “money-time”, therefore, the stopwatch ticks but the score does not change, which offers us a festival of missed opportunities on both sides. Moment chosen by Khris Middleton and Kevin Durant to engage in a duel of madness at mid-distance, with two successes each. Cold as a blade, Kevin Durant then hit the mark at 3-points, but Khris Middleton answered him near the circle, one minute from the end (83-82).

After failures by Joe Harris, Khris Middleton then Bruce Brown, and a time-out refused by Mike Budenholzer, it is Jrue Holiday who sets off on a “coast-to-coast” basis to put Milwaukee back in charge, with a “lay-out”. up ”, 11 seconds from the end (84-83)! And on the next possession, a badly negotiated throw-in by Brooklyn allows Bruce Brown to inherit the ball and take his chance near the circle… without success! Khris Middleton then gave his team a big lead in free throws, before Kevin Durant tried to tie it with 3 points, 2.1 seconds to go… but he missed his turn!

At the end of the suspense, the Bucks finally succeed in snatching this Game 3 (86-83), to return to 2-1 in this conference semi-final!

Khris Middleton (35 points, 15 rebounds) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (33 points, 14 rebounds) were huge all night, scoring 79% of their team’s points. Neither more nor less than an NBA record, for two teammates in the playoffs, and that was necessary to resist Kevin Durant (30 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals), Kyrie Irving (22 points) and Bruce Brown ( 16 points, 11 rebounds).

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