Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals was a rollercoaster of events as the Brooklyn Nets headed into Milwaukee to face Giannis and the Bucks looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead. The thriller started with Milwaukee taking a 30-11 lead in the first quarter, but eventually the game became an even matchup in the 2nd quarter with a breakout performance by Nets guard Bruce Brown. Down the stretch, it was Kevin Durant who would put Brooklyn on his back as he went 9/18 from the field and scored 23 points in the second half of the game.
Unfortunately, the last minute and a half of play would prove to be disastrous. Blake Griffin would earn a goaltending violation, which started a spiral of misfortunes for the Nets including a missed mid-range jumper from Joe Harris, and an almost defenseless possession against Jrue Holiday who hit the game-winning layup. In the end, the Bucks would take their first win of the series 86-83.
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Kyrie Reflects on Bruce Brown’s Last Shot
The Nets had a chance to deliver a knockout blow to the Bucks with another basket in the last minute of the 4th quarter. Instead of giving the ball to Kyrie Irving or Durant who had finally gotten it going in the final period, Bruce Brown took the last shot and missed. Brown’s botched layup attempt led to a go-ahead bucket by Jrue Holiday and the Bucks would never relinquish the lead from that point on.
Irving, who had a less than spectacular game scoring 22 points on just 9/22 shooting from the field, reflected on the game, more specifically the final sequence that led to a game being added to the Nets loss column.
“Usually, Bruce puts us in a great position to at least have something at the rim that goes in, but tonight it just didn’t go for us,” Irving said per Michael A. Scotto of Hoops Hype. “It’s not on him. It’s not on any one person. Just got to execute.”
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LeBron Reacts to Bruce Brown’s Late Decision
Brown’s head-scratching decision left many confused. Durant had just hit three huge buckets, including a three-pointer to put them ahead by three points with 1:23 remaining in the final period. Brown was one of the Nets’ better players all game, but usually in the playoffs you want to get the ball to your stars in crunch time. Lakers’ star LeBron James seemed to be as amused as the rest of the NBA community.
Steve Nash Impressed by Nets Defense
The Nets’ Game 3 loss would be the club’s lowest-scoring performance this year, shooting 26/62 as a collective for the night. But one thing that the Nets can view as a positive is that they have held one of the NBA’s highest powered offenses to just 86 points in consecutive games.
“Well, I think it shows we defended well,” Nash said to reporters on his unit’s production in their Game 3 loss per WFAN. “We can always improve on the defensive end, but it was really solid. And we gave ourselves a chance because of our defense tonight. Our offense just couldn’t keep up tonight, we were basically a bucket or two short and we’ll have to clean up the offense. But the defense was pretty solid and it’s going to have to continue to be solid”.
Another positive that the Nets can take away is that Kyrie and KD did not play particularly well, and they almost won the game. They will be looking to take a commanding 3-1 when they take on the Bucks in Game 4.