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Nets top cool-shooting Bucks in series opener after James Harden leaves with hamstring injury

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Nets top cool-shooting Bucks in series opener after James Harden leaves with hamstring injury

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Printed 10: 37 p.m. ET June 5, 2021 | Up to this point 11: 39 p.m. ET June 5, 2021

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Jim Owczarki of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic atomize down how the Bucks match up with the Nets in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Earlier than most followers had been in their seats at Barclays Center on Saturday evening, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash known as for timeout.

The Milwaukee Bucks had been up 2-0 a mere 43 seconds into the game and Kyrie Irving regarded over at his bench in puzzlement. Nonetheless the stoppage became wished, as Nets guard James Harden walked off the court docket and straight to the locker room.

The tenor of the extremely anticipated Jap Conference semifinal between the Bucks and Nets modified with Harden’s departure, and the TNT broadcast reported Harden left the sphere an MRI on his sincere hamstring.

The sudden deviation from the Nets’ anticipated lineup didn’t hinder them, nonetheless, in any case for one game with a 115-104 victory over the Bucks.

The Gargantuan 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Harden had superb conducted 13 games together this season — including the postseason — so after an initial Bucks flurry following Harden’s departure, the Nets had been carried by Durant and Irving while Blake Griffin stepped into the top supporting role with 18 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.

— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2021

The Nets took a double-digit lead uninteresting in the third quarter and maintained it in the route of the moderately anticlimactic fourth quarter. Down 103-88 with 8: 21 to transfer, the Bucks went with a minute lineup of Jrue Vacation, Bryn Forbes, Khris Middleton, P.J. Tucker and Giannis Antetokounmpo to strive to rev the engine — and Antetokounmpo did press the accelerator with five straight points to receive it 103-93. Nonetheless Durant instantly answered with four straight of his contain and Irving assisted a Mike James layup to stretch the lead to 109-93.

The Bucks couldn’t mount a rally and coach Mike Budenholzer pulled the starters with 3: 40 to transfer after Joe Harris became left initiate to hit two 3-pointers to receive it 115-96.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 34 points on 16-of-24 shooting. He additionally had 11 rebounds, four assists and five turnovers. Brook Lopez scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but Khris Middleton struggled with a 6-for-23 shooting evening, scoring 13 points. He additionally pulled in 13 rebounds. Jrue Vacation had 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting to transfer with nine rebounds and 6 rebounds.

The Bucks shot correct 44.6% from the sphere and a woeful 6-for-30 (20%) from behind the three-point line. The four-man bench of Forbes, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton and Jeff Teague contributed for correct eight points earlier than the starters had been pulled.

Irving and Durant carried a heavy load for Brooklyn, as Irving conducted 45 minutes and scored 25 points and had eight assists. Durant conducted 40 minutes and had 29 points. Harris added 19 points while Mike James had 12 off the bench.

— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2021

The Bucks dominated inside, scoring 72 points in the paint to the Nets’ 48 and 20 points off 15 offensive rebounds. The Nets counteracted with 15 3-pointers and shooting 50% from the bottom till the final moments of the game.

The Bucks on no narrative may per chance per chance find their shooting touch, both at the begin of the game or out of the half. Their chilled fingers made correct certainly one of their first eight shots, which allowed the Nets to expend a 70-63 lead in the opening three minutes of the third quarter.

The Nets progressively pushed that margin to 83-73 with a 9-2 dawdle in the center of the quarter. The Bucks minimize it to 86-80, but after Antetokounmpo left out two free throws Irving hit a momentum-turning 3 to receive it 89-80. Landry Shamet then put down a dunk following an Antetokounmpo turnover to position the Nets up 91-80 and Durant stretched the lead to 16 with five straight points uninteresting. A Lopez buzzer-beater made it 98-84 after three.

By three quarters, the Bucks had made correct four of their 23 3-point attempts, while the Nets had been 12-for-31.

The Nets rallied from Harden’s early exit to expend a 63-61 lead into halftime on the strength of 20 points from Irving and 10 points and 6 rebounds from Griffin. The Bucks shot correct 21.1% from behind the three-point line in the opening half but scored 42 points in the paint and 11 points off 11 offensive rebounds.

Antetokounmpo had 19 points, followed by Vacation with 12 and 11 from Lopez. Middleton scored eight on 4-of-12 shooting.

There had been two momentum swings, one for each team, in the opening half.

Early in the first quarter, the Bucks went on a 13-2 dawdle to expend a 20-11 lead. They led 28-21 with 2: 37 to transfer in the quarter, however the Nets went on a 9-2 dawdle to tie the game temporarily at 30 earlier than Antetokounmpo made a basket with seconds left to present his team a 32-30 lead going into the second length.

The teams in reality traded baskets over the opening three minutes of the second quarter, but after a pair of Jeff Teague free throws made it 42-39 Bucks at the 9: 11 designate the Nets went on a 20-6 dawdle to expend a 59-48 lead. Nonetheless cherish Brooklyn in the first quarter, Milwaukee didn’t buckle under the stress of that dawdle and progressively labored the deficit down due to the 10 points from Antetokounmpo, Vacation and Middleton.

Then in the final seconds of the half, Tucker forced Durant to lose the ball out of bounds. Vacation inbounded deep to Antetokounmpo, who streaked to the basket — superb to dump it off to Lopez. He put the ball in by contact from Durant, but there became a lengthy overview to be aware if it beat the buzzer.

The officials determined Lopez did, indeed, beat the clock and he made the free throw to receive it 63-61 Nets at the half.

Tucker drew the begin for the Bucks in the space of Donte DiVincenzo, who tore an ankle tendon in the Miami series and is out of the playoffs. Tucker, a famend defensive specialist received in mid-March from Houston, made a instantly impact on the game with two steals and seven points in the first quarter. He matched up on Durant practically completely. Durant became 5-for-12 and had three turnovers in the first half.

Apply Jim Owczarski on Twitter @JimOwczarski.

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Nets top cool-shooting Bucks in series opener after James Harden leaves with hamstring injury