With a chance to take a commanding lead in their second-round series against the Bucks, the Nets stumbled, allowing Milwaukee to escape Fiserv Forum on Thursday with an 86-83 win. For the Bucks, it was the type of Game 3 win that can give the trailing team an injection of momentum needed to turn the series around.
At least on paper.
In reality, Game 3 was a brickfest by both teams, but the sentiment afterward was that the Nets really pitched a clunker — and still only lost by three. They’re still very much in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 series lead ahead of Sunday’s Game 4 in Milwaukee.
Still, none of that stole the backpage headlines like an incident in the third quarter featuring Nets star Kevin Durant.
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Warriors Star Chimes in on Durant vs. P.J. Tucker
Durant and Milwaukee’s P.J. Tucker, a pair of former Texas Longhorns, got into a heated exchange in the third quarter of Thursday’s game when Durant was fouled by Tucker.
Things escalated from there, with the two getting in each other’s faces before they were quickly separated by a swarm that included players, coaches and even some security personnel.
Durant and Tucker each earned technical fouls.
On social media, the reaction was swift and oversaturating, as expected. But one reaction that stuck out came from a former teammate of Durant’s.
Draymond Green, the Warriors’ All-Star who has been doing some analysis for Inside the NBA since Golden State was eliminated in the first round, was quick to chime in on the incident. He seemed incredulous that security was needed to help break up the scuffle.
“Wait…. Did y’all just see security run on the court?” Green wrote in a tweet, accompanying it with four laughing emojis. “This is the playoffs man.”
Green continued: “This league has gotten so soft, security ran on the court,” which was followed by five more laughing emojis.
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Durant Likes What He’s Seeing Defensively From Nets
Throughout the regular season, no team’s offense proved more potent than Milwaukee’s. The Bucks led the league with 119 points per game — just ahead of the Nets, who averaged 118.5.
Brooklyn has made the Bucks’ offense look much less potent in the second round of the playoffs. Milwaukee is averaging only 93 points per game through the first three games of the series.
“I like how we defended all game,” Durant said Thursday after the Nets held the Bucks to 86 points for a second straight game, via nba.com. “I like how we rebounded all game. We didn’t let our missed shots dictate our defense especially when we got down big. We tied the game up. We couldn’t score for a few possessions like four or five minutes to go. I think we got good looks. Couple that were open that we missed but that’s part of the game.
“I just like how we stayed with it and that’s what we have to continue to do with this series is stay with the game, stay with our plan, stay with each other individually. Guys missing shots and we still encouraging one another and keep playing. Our defense has to be there no matter what.”
On the flip side, holding the Nets to 83 points, as the Bucks did in Game 3, is also no small feat.
“They played more physical, they were there at the rim and they just played their regular way, the way they’ve been playing the whole season,” Durant said. “I think we got great looks, we need to knock them down, but they also did a good job of contesting and being physical and blocking shots at the rim. But for the most part we got back into the game, had plays down the stretch and they just ended up making a couple more shots.”