With 68 points between Giannis Antetokounmpo Y Khris Middleton, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets 104-80 on Thursday night and forced the seventh and decisive game in this Eastern Conference semifinal. The Bucks, on the verge of being eliminated, managed to win comfortably against their fans at the hands of some outstanding Middleton, who achieved 38 points and 10 rebounds, and of Antetokounmpo, which ended with 30 and 17.
Kevin Durant, who was the hero of Brooklyn in the fifth game with 49 points, this time stayed in 32 points and 11 rebounds,While James Harden added 16 points and 7 assists. The Bucks, who breathe a sigh of relief with this triumph, and the Nets, which still do not have Kyrie Irving due to his sprained ankle, they will play the final match this Saturday at the Barclays Center de Brooklyn.
With the season and surely his project against the ropes, the Bucks got off to a strong start the crash. Antetokounmpo, who scored 11 points in the first quarter, parked his erratic outside shot and did not throw a single triple for the first time in the playoffs. The Greek focused on attacking the area, also creating space for the launches of Middleton y Jrue Holiday (21 points).
In the Nets, Harden was more active and effective in attack than in the fifth game, in which, physically limited by his hamstring problem, he barely scored 5 points and missed his 8 triple attempts. The guard felt comfortable to reopen his catalog of dribbling and 3-pointers with step back, although he is still far from his best version.
The Bucks took advantage on the scoreboard, up to 17 points, which the Nets neutralized until Middleton went on a roll with 17 points in the second quarter. With two triples in a row from the escort, the Bucks went into halftime with an 11-point lead (59-48) that they managed to keep in the third quarter despite Durant’s emergence. The forward took control of the Nets’ offense and tormented his defender, veteran PJ Tucker, with his successful repertoire of medium and long range shots.
Advantages of the Nets
Unlike Tuesday Durant ran into another inspired player, Middleton., who continued to pound the Nets’ rim until closing the third quarter with a basket in the final second after collecting a rebound on a fast break.
The Bucks placed 15 points up (82-67) at the start of the last period, with the opportunity to seal the victory soon without risking a close final against the fearsome Durant and Harden. And that’s what they did, not without a shock when the Nets approached with a partial of 10-0 led by Durant.
The figures of the Bucks gritted their teeth to regain the lead and extend it to 20 points (99-79) with less than five minutes to play. Antetokounmpo scored nearly seven points in a row, including three no-miss free throws and an offensive rebound dunk.
The winner of the seventh game will face the winner of the other semi-final in the Eastern final, dominated by the Atlanta Hawks 3-2 against the Philadelphia 76ers.