Condemned to win this Game 6 to stay alive, Milwaukee is entering the game well. Despite ineffectiveness from afar, Mike Budenholzer’s men locked in defense before letting Giannis Antetokounmpo express himself in counterattack. As in the 5th round, Brooklyn begins timidly even if James Harden finds sensations with his famous “step-back” at 3-points (18-5).
Without panicking, the residents of the Barclays Center find the address. Defended by PJ Tucker, Kevin Durant repeats his scales at mid-distance even when Antetokounmpo decides to stick to it. However, Milwaukee manages to keep his distance and to compensate for their repeated 3-point failures, the Bucks sanction the Nets inside thanks to their physical density symbolized by Giannis, Brook Lopez or Jrue Holiday (26-19).
James Harden rediscovers sensations
Fortunately for the visitors, James Harden confirms his revival and is extremely effective while causing faults of the “Greeak Freak”. Resting while Harden held the house, Durant finally sets the sights on the outside. To oppose the two superstars of Brooklyn, the franchise of Wisconsin relies on its duo Middleton-Antetokounmpo. If the double MVP rolls on the opponent’s racket, the shooter takes advantage of the spaces created by his partner to penalize at 3-points as soon as the opportunity arises (59-48).
Less effective after returning from the locker room, the two teams maintain this gap of around ten points. Blake Griffin may do all the dirty work, his teammates lose balls that the Bucks can not exploit and when Kevin Durant returns 8 points in a row at halfway, the All-Star trio of Wisconsin responds.
Middleton decisive in the 2nd half
The last two minutes of the quarter illustrate this perfectly. Behind an efficient Harden on the line and an aggressive Durant, Brooklyn is believed to be able to come close. Except that Khris Middleton calms their ardor. In a KD style before scoring at the buzzer on a failure of his Greek teammate, the silent killer of the Bucks gives air to his franchise with this gap which switches back beyond 10 points (78-67).
At least that was needed to calmly approach the last quarter on the Bucks side. With the exception of Middleton, the Bucks are very discreet and their opponents take the opportunity to inflict a 10-0 and come back to -5 (82-77). But thanks to their rear which causes three shots, Milwaukee is moving forward.
Like Middleton, Antetokounmpo is efficient on the line, and the good news for Milwaukee is that he doesn’t take a 3-point shot. Add to that a dunk on Jeff Green on top of Holiday’s throws and you have a 14-0 that pushes the Nets to 19 units.
With just under 5 minutes left to play, Steve Nash prefers to surrender against a gala Middleton by pulling out his two superstars and making an appointment for an electric Game 7 at Barclays Center on Saturday. The Bucks finally win 104-89, and for the third time at the Fiserv Forum, the Nets leave without reaching 100 points.