Very quickly we saw how the refs were going to call the game (and how much it would benefit James Harden) as it quickly became a slog. Brooklyn led 28-25 after one, as each team was led by 10 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. Like all series, the Bucks’ offense simply could do nothing as shots did not fall. Milwaukee went nearly 4 minutes without scoring in the second as the Nets made it a 2 possession game, leading 53-47 at the half. Jrue Holiday’s shooting woes got even worse as both he and Khris Middleton were 2/11 from the field in the first 24.
A quick 7-0 run out of the locker room propelled the Bucks to their first lead since the 2:13 mark in the first quarter. They briefly got their lead to 5 on a P.J. Tucker corner three, but then the momentum began swinging. It was a great quarter from the Bucks, as they shot 6/11 from deep and scored 35 points, very high by this series’ standards. Brooklyn took a 5 point lead even before a late third-quarter run put the Bucks ahead 82-81 entering the pivotal fourth.
This was a one-possession game through a lot of the fourth, but Brooklyn was able to pull away into 5–6 point leads multiple times. Each time the Bucks managed to get back into it with a timely shot. Giannis (who was obviously gassed) and Middleton went go toe-to-toe with KD and Harden for much of the quarter. Some late life by Jrue Holiday, who FINALLY made some shots, gave Milwaukee a 4 point lead with a minute remaining. However, a bungled inbounds play by Brook Lopez gave the ball back to Brooklyn with the shot clock off. Kevin Durant naturally had the last shot for the win, and while he would make it with 1.0 on the clock, his foot was on the three-point line. Giannis could not get a good shot up at the buzzer and we went to OT knotted up at 109.
Outside of an early Bruce Brown bucket, both teams couldn’t score in OT as it remained 111-109 until a Giannis bucket at the 1:12 mark. A crucial block by Lopez followed Khris Middleton jumper with 40.7 seconds left put the Bucks up 2.
Brooklyn entrusted their season to Durant once more, who bricked a jumper with 34.7 left. After a Milwaukee miss on the other end and the shot clock off, it was KD guarded by Holiday at the arc. Fatigue clearly caught up to him as he air-balled what would have been the game-tying shot with 0.3 on the clock.
Durant played all 53 minutes and scored an all-time NBA scoring record for a Game 7 with 48 points. Giannis led Milwaukee with 40 as he led this team somewhat improbably to its second conference finals in 3 seasons, beating the presumptive title favorites. In the words of Christian Yelich: LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
HOW WE FEELING, BUCKS FANS?!?— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 20, 2021
Stat That Stood Out
6-2. That was the score in OT. In a game with 20 lead changes, the 19th occurred when Bruce Brown made a putback with 4:38 to go. Those were the last points the Nets would score.