The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks played an absolute classic Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday night. A wild end to regulation gave way to a war of attrition in overtime, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and company edging out the Nets in Brooklyn 115-111.
The Nets led by six at the half, avoiding the rough starts that doomed them in the games in Milwaukee. A huge third quarter brought the Bucks right back into the game, outscoring the Nets 35-28 in that frame. The fourth quarter was an absolute back-and-forth slugfest between two former MVPs, Giannis and Kevin Durant, and their supporting casts.
The Nets looked to have things in hand at 101-96 late in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks’ superstars had other thoughts. Khris Middleton cut the lead to two with a three, and Giannis tied things up on the next possession. From there, it was the Jrue Holiday show. He scored six points in the last 2:32 of the game to push the Nets to their limit. Durant, as he often does, had an answer.
After hitting a jumper to cut the lead to 109-107, the Nets got a big stop, and drew one up for KD. He hit an absolute circus shot from just inside the arc to tie the game, and send it to overtime. He was mere inches from the shot being a three to win the game.
ONLY. KEVIN. DURANT.
Nets-Bucks Game 7 goes to OT! 😱
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 20, 2021
The Nets were inches away from the Eastern Conference Finals on KD last-second shot in regulation. pic.twitter.com/dmjlUZItsk
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 20, 2021
Overtime was an absolute slog, and frankly, an understandable one. Most of the major players in tonight’s game played virtually the entire night, including Durant, who wound up playing every minute of the game once again.
Bruce Brown opened scoring in overtime. It was not for another three-plus minutes that another person made a shot, as Giannis tied it up at 111 on a layup. Middleton gave the Bucks the lead moments later on a mid-range jumper.
Once again, it came down to Durant, and he didn’t quite have it in overtime. After missing his patented mid-range shot from the baseline, he tried to force up a potential game-winning shot over Jrue Holiday, but airballed it.
KD FINALLY STOPPED. BUCKS WIN GAME 7. 🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/t73aQP2h4a
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) June 20, 2021
Giannis finished with 40 points and 13 rebounds on the night, with Middleton chipping in 23, and Brook Lopez 19 against his former franchise. Durant led all scorers with 48, while the hobbled James Harden scored 22, though he struggled to get there, on 5-of-17 shooting.
The Nets are a pretty divisive team, but have undeniable star power. The NBA world is pretty split in terms of their reaction to seeing the Nets go down, especially with how things finished out.
What a game.
Giannis and the Bucks show phenomenal resolve. Kevin Durant shows he’s one of the most exceptional basketball players in the history of the planet. And shouts also to Steve Nash, who gave the Nets some serious steadiness in a bonkers season.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 20, 2021
— @OldTakesExposed 🤷🏻♀️
Incredibly impressed with the Bucks first winning Game 6 and then showing up tonight, staring down KD in regulation, getting bested and not giving up, not letting up. Outlasting the Nets, as ugly as it was.
Hats off. https://t.co/xBIdoxxq0i
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) June 20, 2021
The Bucks were down 2-0.
They said it was over.
They don’t know Milwaukee.
The Bucks came back.
The Bucks are gunning for a Championship.
— IKE Bucks Podcast (@IKE_Bucks) June 20, 2021
Injuries really cost us a Lakers and Nets finals, GGs
— CarlosStory (@CarlosxcStory) June 20, 2021
The Nets looked like they were on another level but injuries and a good Bucks team got the best of them. NBA is a copycat league, would have been interesting to see how teams approached roster-building had the Nets won it all. For now, "Defense Wins Championships" lives on.
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) June 20, 2021
KD gave us everything he had, an all time great performance
— Talkin’ Nets (@TalkinNets) June 20, 2021
The Milwaukee Bucks will face the winner of the Philadelphia 76ers-Atlanta Hawks Game 7, which tips off tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET. The Western Conference Finals also gets started tomorrow, with the Phoenix Suns hosting the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 at 3:30 p.m.