With a record-breaking performance by Antetokounmpo and Middleton, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets and approached 2-1 in the semifinals of the NBA Eastern conference as the Utah Jazz made it 2-0 with another display from Donovan Mitchell.
In Milwaukee, guard Khris Middleton, with 35 points, and power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, with 33, threw the Bucks behind their backs to beat Brooklyn 86-83 and avoid a 3-0 aggregate scoreline that no one has come back in an NBA playoffs.
The two Milwaukee figures spanned the 79% of your team’s points, the highest percentage of any teammate pair in a playoff game.
“We’ve been doing this for the last eight years,” Antetokounmpo said of his partnership with Middleton. “We were able to compete, to get our teammates involved and to help the team to victory.”
Kevin Durant’s ‘Double-Double’
For the Nets, still without the injured James Harden, Kevin Durant He added 30 points and 11 rebounds but missed a last and very forced triple to tie the game.
The 32-year-old forward had previously scored three three-point shots with which he surpassed Argentine Manu Ginobili (324) as the sixth player in history with the most triples in the playoffs. Your partner Kyrie irving, the third superstar for the Nets, had a low-key night with 22 points and 9-of-22 shooting from the field.
“They did what they were supposed to do, come out aggressive,” Irving said. But we had our options in the end. The game ended possession by possession, the two teams battling. It was a good old-style playoff game. “
Pressured by the two resounding defeats in Brooklyn (New York), the Bucks started at full speed Thursday fueled by the public lighting of the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Trying to get the game back on track early, Antetokounmpo and Middleton took on each other for the Bucks’ 30 points in the first quarter, 15 each. The Bucks seemed thrown by opening a 21-point distance until the Nets decided it was time to defend more intensely.
In the best style of these Nets, who accumulate superlative offensive talent, Brooklyn came to half-time just three points behind (45-42) without having to step on the accelerator.
The Nets took the lead (65-64) for the first time a minute from the end of the third quarter, opening the curtain for an exciting final period.
Several errors by the Nets allowed Jrue Holiday to advance to Milwaukee 84-83 with just 11.4 seconds left.
After two free throws made by Middleton, and 2.1 seconds to go, Durant missed the last long-range triple that would have forced overtime.
The Clippers, back at a disadvantage
With another 37-point display from Donovan Mitchell, The Utah Jazz prevailed 117-111 in a fierce matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, who are again 2-0 behind in these playoffs in the Western conference.
Mitchell He resumed the effectiveness shown in the first game, in which he scored 45 points, with a spectacular first half in which he added 27 points with 5 triples.
At 24, Donovan Mitchell continues to amaze in this postseason and Thursday became the first Jazz player since Karl Malone (1988) to score at least 35 points in two straight playoff games.
The guard, however, appeared to suffer from his right ankle injury from a foul received from Paul George in the last minute. “I’m fine, no problem,” Mitchell later clarified about his physical condition.
On the other side of the track his partner Rudy Gobert named New Defensive Player of the Year for the third timeIt was a nightmare for the Clippers attack with 13 points, 20 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks.
The Angelina franchise, with Reggie Jackson (29 points) and Paul George (27) in front, managed to overcome a 21-point deficit and force a tight finish but the Jazz did not let the victory escape with a bombardment from the line of three.
Mitchell, Ingles, Bogdanovic and company added a total of 20 triples, tying the team’s playoff record, with an outstanding 51.3% accuracy.
You can’t dig a hole like that against a good team. If you do, you have to expend all your energy to get back into the game and you don’t have enough left for the end, “lamented Ty Lue, Clippers coach, about the start of the game for his team.
With this defeat Clippers back to 2-0 behind as in the first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks, who ended up beating 4-3 in the seventh game.