It’s been a little while since we have had a real 2v2 showdown at the highest level of the NBA. However, in last night’s Game 3 in the series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, that is what viewers were treated to.
With the Nets holding a 2-0 lead after the first two games, this first game in Milwaukee was a must win for the third seed Bucks. What ensued was a tight, strong defensive game, but one that featured four players dominate, two for each team, with a twist in the tale for good measure.
Khris Middleton (35 points, 15 rebounds) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (33 points, 14 rebounds) outdueled the Nets combo of Kevin Durant (30 points, 11 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (22 points, 5 rebounds) to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a tight 86-83 victory.
BUCKS WIN!! pic.twitter.com/KHqOKfT70s
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 11, 2021
Contrasting Quarters To Start The Game
Having conceded 115 and 125 points in their first two games of the series against the Nets, Milwaukee needed a fast start on their home court, and they got that opening up a 19-point lead in the first quarter.
However, the Nets regrouped and in the second quarter they dominated, cutting that lead down to just three points at the half.
By now, it was already evident that this was going to be a showdown between Middleton and Giannis against Durant and Irving and with 1.23 left in the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant sunk a spectacular three pointer to put the Nets 83-80 in front.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 11, 2021
Back came the Bucks with Khris Middleton narrowing that lead to a point, before Jrue Holiday added another two points to put the Bucks in front. The Nets Bruce Brown missed a shot with 6.4 seconds left and after Middleton added two free-throws to extend the lead to three, Durant missed on a desperation shot at the buzzer.
The relief for the Bucks as time expired was clearly evident as they cut the Nets lead to one and move into their second home game in the series on Sunday with a chance to tie things up.
Utah Jazz Hit The Right Notes In 117-111 Win Over Clippers
In the second game of the evening, the Western Conference top seeds, the Utah Jazz, moved 2-0 up in their series with the Los Angeles Clippers thanks to a 117-11 victory at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Donovan Mitchell was dominant, scoring 37 points for the Jazz, while Rudy Gobert landed 20 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson made a vital contribution of 24 points from the bench too as the Jazz took control of the series.
Game 3 – Sat, 8:30 PM ET, ABC pic.twitter.com/aXBNjht5K8
— NBA (@NBA) June 11, 2021
Even the absence of Mike Conley due to a hamstring strain couldn’t stop the Jazz in their tracks.
For the Clippers, for once it wasn’t Kawhi Leonard who top scored. Leonard did manage 21 points, but Reggie Jackson hit 29 points, with Paul George contributing 27, plus 10 rebounds and 6 assists in another fine individual performance from the guard.
It’s familiar territory for the Clippers as they were 2-0 down in their first playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. They came back to win that series 4-3, but it is fair to say that the top ranked Utah Jazz will pose a much tougher test than what Dallas could muster.
The two teams will be in action on Saturday evening as the action heads to Los Angeles and to the Staples Center where the Clippers will be hoping home field advantage can see them land a crucial victory.
If they can’t then the Jazz will be in a fantastic position to clinch the series in double-quick time.