Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton lead Bucks to narrow win over Nets in Game 3 en

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It took three games, but the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks finally gave fans the playoff series they’ve been expecting. The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the contest, but it was the Bucks who came out on top 86-83 in Game 3.

The game came down to a tense fourth quarter, but it didn’t look like things would get there early on. The Bucks got out to a tremendous start, scoring the first nine points of the game. By the end of the quarter, the Bucks led 30-11. It looked like the team would finally put up a dominant performance in the series.

The second quarter told a completely different story. The Nets bounced back, outscoring the Bucks 31-15 in the second and cutting Milwaukee’s lead to just three points. 

By the third quarter, both teams fell into their grooves. The Nets managed to cut the lead down two points before the start of the fourth quarter. 

Things got contentious as the Nets attempted to fight back in the third. Kevin Durant and P.J. Tucker got into a heated exchange on the court that led to a security guard stepping in to defuse the situation.

At least one current NBA player, Golden State Warriors big man Draymond Green, thought the security guard overreacted to the confrontation.

The fourth quarter continued to see both teams trade scores. With 3:00 left in the contest, things were knotted up at 76. Khris Middleton and Durant traded buckets, keeping the game tied 80-80 with 1:30 to play. 

A Durant three finally broke the tie, giving the Nets a narrow lead. The Bucks managed to cut the lead to a point. After a Bruce Brown miss, the Bucks got the ball back with about 16 seconds left on the clock. The team was aggressive, pushing the ball down the court. The move worked, with 11 seconds to go, Jrue Holiday hit a layup to give the Bucks a one-point lead. 

The Nets nearly threw the ball away on the inbounds pass. Brown eventually drove the lane, but missed a contested layup. The Nets fouled Middleton with 2.1 seconds to go. Middleton hit both attempts, giving the Bucks a three-point lead. 

With time running out, Durant nearly nailed a three-pointer to send the game into overtime. Despite being double-teamed, Durant’s shot just missed, clanging off the rim to give the Bucks the win.

For the Bucks, the scoring mostly fell to two players. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points on 14 of 31 shooting, including 1 of 8 from three-point range. Middleton scored 35 points with 15 rebounds. The rest of the Bucks combined for 18 points. 

With James Harden once again sidelined with a hamstring injury, Durant and Kyrie Irving carried the scoring load for the Nets. Durant finished the contest with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Irving had 22 points and 5 rebounds. Bruce Brown also played a key role for the Nets, scoring 16 points.

With the win, the Bucks moved the series to 2-1. Milwaukee will look to even the series in Game 4, which will take place Sunday.

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