Tomorrow night, Saturday to Sunday, at 01:30 (Spanish time) and at the Barclays Center, one of the games of the year is played: Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks, seventh and final for a place in the final of the Eastern Conference. Is it not going anymore? Nobody has yet won away in the tie (3-3) and the last battle will leave out the Bucks, one more year (and Mike Budenholzer, of course), or the manic empire of the Nets, a splendid favorite to the title until lesions piled up. It goes no further.
The Bucks did their homework (104-89) on their track, and His triumph had such logic that it is difficult not to return to the asylum of the fifth game to wonder why the Wisconsin are not already classified. But, since that is useless, it would be better to recognize their mental recovery, the management of the skid, the ability not to get carried away by that apprehension caused by having Kevin Durant in front of them. That when he plays at his peak, as in that fifth game, he drags a powerful fragrance to destiny, to inevitability. It is the grim reaper, the end of everything.
Kevin Durant can win alone, he is one of the few players in history who can do it already at such an advanced competitive moment. One of the chosen ones. But the normal thing is that it does not do it: the normal thing was, I will say it for the last time, that this series was already closed. Without Kyrie Irving and with James Harden playing absolutely depleted (more than 86 minutes in 48 hours, moreover), the Bucks are only separated from the East final by their own contradictions… and Kevin Durant. That this time he did not reach the superlative level, the one that Nets need so precarious that nothing else from their leader is worth them. They are not worth 32 points and 11 rebounds, not with a 15/30 in shots and 7 losses. With Blake Griffin also loading minutes (32 years and very touched knees, I remember), no secondary threw a cable. Jeff Green was enlightened on Tuesday but has just come out of injury, and it is what it is, Y Joe Harris is hitting a horrendous series (20% on 3s in the last four games) when they needed it most. the Nets their differential contribution. Everyone thinks they have their Klay Thompson until they find out that there is only one Klay Thompson. Harden, better than two days ago (perhaps a reason for hope) but without a motor, finished with 16 points, 7 assists and 4 losses: eleven between him and KD.
For the Bucks, in this state of affairs, just do their thing. At least on his track, we’ll see in Brooklyn. The problem is, the Bucks forget too many times to do their thing. They lose balls and embolize in motionless attacks and long shots. So they are vulnerable. If they defend, run, circulate and feed Giannis Antetokounmpo where it needs to be done, they should win again tomorrow. The physical difference is high right now. And that with a bench that reached the last quarter with two points (from Forbes) and a disappointing Jrue Holiday again on both sides of the court (1/10 in triples headstrong). But at minimum, in a fight of wounded to see who is left standing, the muscle of PJ Tucker matters, the linebacker that chases and exhausts Durant (3 points, +30 on the track), and Giannis’s power matters, this time controlled: excellent first time and final combustion in the fourth quarter. in total, 30 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists and, promisingly, a 12/20 in shots without shooting from three. The average distance of his attempts dropped to two meters when he rounded four in the first three games of the series. There is a positive evolution there, which is something that cannot always be said of Budenholzer and a Giannis who served as leader, to take the blows first and put the last nails in the opponent’s coffin later.
And it does matter, it does matter, the extraordinary level of Khris Middleton, who played a fabulous game because he also scored every time the Nets charged. The escort (twice all star, a silent star), finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 11/16 shooting, 5/8 triples and 11/12 free throws). Superb. When he and Giannis do what they each have to do (many nights in the regular season, not as many as would be desirable in the playoffs) they are a perfectly complementary couple, tailor-made. And devastating.
The point is that With Bucks nerves tempered, it always looked like there would be 3-3 and Game 7. And that the Nets this time did not have the special game inside, the illogical night. They fell under their own weight. Lots of losses, lots of disorder, no physical bellows, and no real support for the two stars, one and a half actually because only one Harden leg counts. The Bucks were never behind on the scoreboard and hit pulls that for more than three quarters did not finish reassuring their people. Until the break: Already in the last quarter, the Nets converted an 82-67 into an 82-77 with almost nine minutes left. There, where other times they fall apart, the Bucks charged: 14-0 (96-77) that reached an 18-2 (100-79) that sent Durant and Harden to the bench with almost five minutes left. Before what comes Saturday, every atom of energy must be conserved.
So, here we are. It seems unlikely that Kyrie Irving will play tomorrow, with his ankle curled into a ball. Or for James Harden to regain his explosiveness. It seems impossible that the Nets’ options will not go through a monstrous, legendary game by Kevin Durant, and a disturbance before the goal line of his rival. And both things, that’s the most interesting thing, can happen. The Nets are almost broken, but They have the home court factor and they have Durant. The Bucks push, but they have to show us that they truly believe in themselves so that we can truly believe others in them. There they are, tomorrow it’s a great game. It goes no further.