Kevin Durant did everything in his power to lead the Brooklyn Nets out of Game 7 and into the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night.
In the end, though, it somehow wasn’t enough.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks survived a thrilling overtime battle with the Nets 115-111 at the Barclays Center to reach their second Eastern Conference finals in three years.
The Nets pulled ahead slightly in the first half, thanks to a defensive stand where they held Milwaukee scoreless for nearly four minutes in the second half. That, though, didn’t last long as Brooklyn took just a six-point lead into the break.
The Bucks came out hot in the third quarter, and opened on a quick 11-0 run to retake the lead again almost instantly. Antetokoumpo put up 16 points in the quarter, too, the most points he’s scored in a single quarter throughout the entire postseason. Despite his hot hand, though, the Bucks only took a one-point lead into the fourth.
Kevin Durant forces overtime with wild shot
The Bucks had a chance to make it a two possession game with less than 10 seconds left, but the Nets forced a shot clock violation out of an inbounds play to reclaim the ball down two points with just six seconds left.
That’s when Durant showed up to temporarily save the Nets’ season.
Durant, after catching a long inbounds pass, drilled what looked like a wild contested 3-pointer with less than two seconds left, seemingly putting them up by a single point. A review, however, showed that Durant’s toes were barely on the line — which changed the bucket back and ended up sending the game into overtime.
The Nets scored almost instantly in the extra period off of a Bruce Brown bucket, but then both teams went cold for several minutes. It wasn’t until Antetokounmpo made a layup to tie things up with just more than a minute left, and then Khris Middleton matched him with a mid-range jumper of his own to give them a two-point lead with just 40 seconds on the clock.
Durant had a shot to put the Nets back up in the final seconds, but he missed the rim entirely — which then sealed the four-point win for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo finished with 40 points and 13 rebounds on the night while playing 50 minutes and shooting 15-of-24 from the field. Middleton added 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Durant dropped 48 points for the Nets, the most scored by any player in a Game 7 in NBA history, and played in all 53 minutes. He nearly had a triple-double, adding nine rebounds and six assists. James Harden put up 22 points with nine rebounds and nine assists in 53 minutes, too.
The Bucks will advance to take on either the Philadelphia 76ers or Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals. The 76ers-Hawks series will play their Game 7 on Sunday.
This post will be updated with more information shortly.
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