You can’t ask for a higher Game 7. In a heavyweight struggle that noticed each groups commerce blows till the bitter finish, the Bucks superior to the Jap Convention Finals after a thrilling, 115–111 win in opposition to the Nets in extra time.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 factors in 50 minutes in the win, main Milwaukee as a lot of his supporting solid struggled taking pictures for giant stretches of the recreation.
Kevin Durant put up one other all-time efficiency, scoring 48 factors—the most ever in a Game 7—and taking part in all 53 minutes, together with his potential game-winning three falling harmlessly to the flooring in the recreation’s closing second.
Listed below are three ideas on the prompt basic.
The Two Largest Stars Delivered
In case you needed to see KD and Giannis go face to face, then Saturday’s matchup got here by way of in spades. Each gamers have been chic. Whereas Antetokounmpo nonetheless took some ill-advised threes, he was aggressive all night time. He saved attacking the rim late, not displaying any worry about heading to the free-throw line. (Giannis hit 8-of-14 from the stripe, ok all issues thought of.) It was a celebrity, MVP, all-universe, top-tier efficiency from the Greek Freak, and he’s earned a reprieve from questions on his playoff prowess. Successful in opposition to Durant in a Game 7 on the street? That’s past massive time.
And one way or the other, Durant might have been higher. He hit some breathtaking photographs down the stretch, together with a balletic turnaround fadeaway from the tippy prime of the three-point line to ship the recreation into the additional interval—which was millimeters away from being a go-ahead shot. Durant gave Brooklyn all the pieces he had, and sadly he appeared to expire of gasoline close to the finish of the recreation. KD missed a couple appears late, together with a contested three that would have gained all of it, however his effort was unassailable. The numbers Durant put up in this sequence—in opposition to a nice crew, together with his hobbled supporting solid, taking part in in his first postseason since his Achilles tear—is why the sport of basketball is unbelievable. KD has mastered his craft, and it was inspiring to observe.
The shows from Giannis and Durant solely additional cemented them in the higher echelon of the league. Regardless of all the accidents in the playoffs total, the Freak and KD greater than got here by way of for anybody who needed to see some star energy Saturday.
The Margins Had been Tremendous Skinny
The Bucks gained this recreation, however solely barely. Whichever crew ended up dropping was going to be devastated due to the razor’s edge distinction between these two golf equipment.
Milwaukee survived Saturday regardless of wildly subpar taking pictures nights from Khris Middleton and Jrue Vacation, poor offense and even worse defensive rebounding in extra time, in addition to P.J. Tucker fouling out.(*7*)
The Nets have been proper there regardless of an inefficient night time from a slowed-down James Harden. The Beard scored 22 and was a excellent 10-of-10 from the line, however he hit solely 5-of-17 photographs from the subject, and missed 10 of his 12 three-point makes an attempt. (Joe Harris additionally continued to wrestle, hitting solely three of hie 9 threes, together with a plum look in OT.)
It’s laborious to say certainly one of these groups is healthier than the different—the accidents in this sequence are additionally the apparent elephant in the room—and Game 7 was particularly illustrative in how shut these groups have been to one another. Sadly for Brooklyn, it is going to be caught with the “What ifs?” till subsequent season. What if Kyrie Irving performed? What if Durant’s foot wasn’t on the line? These million tiny moments are what make Game 7s so charming. The Nets simply discovered themselves on the improper aspect of the 50-50 conditions.
The Bucks Are Not Out of the Woods
Milwaukee confirmed unbelievable resolve in this sequence. The Bucks overcame a 2–0 deficit, a 3–2 deficit, and gained a Game 7 on the street. These issues aren’t straightforward, irrespective of the circumstances. A wholesome Kevin Durant hadn’t been knocked out of the playoffs since 2016.
Nonetheless, it’s laborious to firmly grasp what Milwaukee’s ceiling is. It took each ounce of vitality for the Bucks to knock out a critically hampered Nets crew—who have been lacking Irving for the final half of the sequence whereas Harden was clearly hobbled for the final three video games.(*7*)
The expectations are nonetheless very excessive for Giannis and Co., and the weirdness of this postseason is establishing a distinctive alternative for the Bucks to win the Finals. However all of the remaining groups in each conferences might present distinctive challenges to Milwaukee.
For now, the Bucks have survived. In contrast to the Nets, they’ve the privilege to work out their points shifting ahead.
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