The second round matchup between the Nets and Bucks definitely lived up to the hype. Brooklyn looked as if they would run away with the series after the first two games. Then the injury bug struck the Nets, but they believed they would be able to weather the storm. Milwaukee had different plans and gained momentum once they returned to their home court. They were led on a comeback by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, and went on to win the series in seven games.
NBA Playoffs Series Recap: Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn Started Off Hot
In Game 1 and Game 2, the Nets got off to a great start. Despite losing James Harden early in Game 1, Brooklyn was able to get production from role players to make up for the loss. That production continued in Game 2, where the Nets won as well. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving did most of the heavy lifting but they also got some help from Blake Griffin, Mike James, and Joe Harris early in the series. The Nets were able to make the most of their offensive opportunities because the Buck were struggling to knock down their shots. That all changed when the series shifted to Milwaukee.
The Bucks Found Life at Home
In Game 3, the Bucks were able to find life, led by their two stars. Antetokounmpo put up 33 points along with 14 rebounds. Middleton found his shooting stroke and led the game in scoring with 35, and also added 15 rebounds. Milwaukee was up big for most of the game and the Nets were struggling to produce points. Durant and Irving were almost able to lead the Nets to a slim victory, but they did not have enough support from their teammates. Blake scored five points, James had two, and Joe Harris only scored once, knocking down one shot from behind the arc.
The Turning Point
After the Bucks found some rhythm, it was up to the Nets to steal a game in Milwaukee to kill any hope the Bucks had. Giannis and Middleton had monster performances in Game 3, but it was unlikely that Milwaukee would get the same outcome without others contributing. The Bucks got great contributions from P.J. Tucker on both ends of the floor. On offense, he added 13 points, and on defense, he was Durant’s primary defender. His physical style of defense definitely posed some problems for Durant. Jrue Holiday contributed 14 points and nine assists, and Bryn Forbes put up to off the bench.
Antetokounmpo and Middleton had another big game together in Game 4. On the other side, disaster struck for Brooklyn. Irving went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and the Nets were never the same after. Durant was not able to keep up with the Bucks alone. He scored 28 points, but Kyrie was the only other Nets player in double figures. Game 4 proved to be the turning point in the series.
Durant’s Herculean Performance
After Irving was ruled out, everyone knew Durant would have to lead the Nets to a series win. In Game 5 back in Brooklyn, Durant was sensational. He put up a triple-double with 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists, but he had a surprise co-star emerge. Back from injury, Jeff Green shot 7/8 from three-point range and scored 27 points off the bench.
Harden came back and played in Game 5 but only really acted as a decoy. He added five points and eight assists.
Bucks Close Out the Nets
Milwaukee’s star power surprisingly outweighed Brooklyn’s as the series came to a close. In the final two games, the Bucks were led to a series win by their two stars. Middleton had a great Game 6 with a playoff career-high 38 points to tie the series at 3-3. Antetokounmpo had a phenomenal Game 7 with 40 points and 13 rebounds.
On Brooklyn’s side, Durant was amazing down the stretch. In Game 6 he had 32 points and 11 assists. Harden added 16 points and Griffin contributed 12. In Game 7, Durant and the Nets simply ran out of gas. Durant scored a Game 7 record 48 points and was inches away from leading Brooklyn to a series win. Harden contributed 22 points but shot 2/12 from three. Griffin had a double-double. Bruce Brown even added 14. Still, this was not enough for Brooklyn to get past Milwaukee.
The Bucks are have finally gotten over the hump by beating Brooklyn. They’re playing the right brand of basketball at the perfect time. Not only do they have their stars playing great, but they also have confidence that they can play with the league’s best. They’ll move on to play in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks in what should be a stellar offensive series.
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