After dropping two games in Brooklyn, the Milwaukee Bucks brought a much better effort on Thursday night in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series against the Nets. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton both had huge performances for Milwaukee and the duo combined for 68 total points. Thanks largely to their output, the Bucks were able to pull out a crucial 86-83 win over the Nets in Game 3. With the win, the Bucks avoided falling into a deep 3-0, as the series now sits at a more manageable 2-1.
After jumping all over the Nets early on, the Bucks were able to sustain a solid effort over the full 48 minutes of the game -- and that's exactly what it took, since the game came down to the final possession. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 55 points for the Nets but, in the end, their production wasn't enough to get the job done, especially since they didn't get too much help from the rest of the roster, aside from Bruce Brown, who had a good game.
The win was a solid one for the Bucks, and it was a tough loss for the Nets. But, neither team can dwell on it for too long because the two teams will be back in action on Sunday for Game 4. Before skipping forward to that game though, here are three takeaways from Milwaukee's Game 3 victory.
1. The Bucks avoid a historically insurmountable deficit
The odds are against the Bucks in this series. They lost the first two games to the Nets, and teams that fall behind 2-0 in a best-of-seven series go on to lose that series over 97 percent of the time. But while coming back after being down 2-0 is an unlikely feat, it's not an impossible one, as it's been done many time in the most. Earlier this postseason the Clippers bested the Mavericks in seven games after dropping the first two games. Being down 3-0, though, is a different story. No team in NBA history has ever come back after being down 3-0 in a series. So, that's what the Bucks were facing heading into Game 3. Fortunately for them, they were ultimately able to pull out a win and avoid that historically unsurmountable 3-0 hole. A 2-1 series is much more manageable, especially since two of the next three games will be in Milwaukee.
2. Milwaukee's stars outproduced Brooklyn's stars
The NBA is a star-driven league, and that's especially true in the playoffs where teams tend to go as far as their top-tier players propel them. In Game 3, Milwaukee's All-Star duo of Middleton and Antetokounmpo had a more productive performance than Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving did for Brooklyn. Together, Antetokounmpo and Middleton combined for 68 points and 29 rebounds. Those 68 points were 79 percent of Milwaukee's total point production -- no duo in NBA playoff history has ever scored a higher percentage of their team's total points.
On the other side, Durant and Irving combined for 52 points and 16 rebounds, which isn't terrible, but it pales in comparison to Milwaukee's duo. Moving forward, the Bucks will need more performances like this one from Antetokounmpo and Middleton is they're going to pull off the series upset.
3. A forgettable game for Joe Harris
Joe Harris is one of the best shooters in the entire NBA, but you wouldn't know it from watching Game 2. Harris had opportunity after opportunity to give Brooklyn a boost with his shooting, but he was unable to time and again. Harris played 37 minutes in the game, and he made just one shot, despite attempting 11. That's a shooting percentage of nine. The Nets depend on Harris to provide ancillary scoring support to their stars, and he was unable to deliver for Brooklyn in Game 3. The good news for the Nets is that they only lost the game by three despite Harris' struggles, and he's unlikely to shoot that poorly again.