NBA Playoffs Top Moments: Bucks clip Nets, while Jazz outlast the Clippers
The stars are out for Thursday night's NBA playoff slate, and the stakes are high.
First on the docket, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks played host to the Brooklyn Nets, looking to slow down the duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving while trying to dig out of an 0-2 hole.
The Bucks were able to accomplish that goal, securing an 86-83 victory to make this a series.
They were carried by their All-Star tandem of Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, who combined to score 68 of the Bucks 86 points.
Donovan Mitchell torched the Clippers for 45 points in Game 1, and came close to that total in Game 2, scoring 37 points to lead the Jazz to a 117-111 victory.
No team has ever overcome multiple 0-2 deficits in the same postseason, which is what the Clippers will need to do if they hope to keep marching toward the NBA Finals.
Here are the top moments from Thursday night's NBA slate:
Before tipoff, Rudy Gobert was awarded his third Defensive Player of the Year award in front of a raucous home crowd.
And then Donovan Mitchell was up to his usual offensive antics.
He scored 45 points in Game 1 and had more where that came from early in Game 2, with eight quick points to open the game, scoring 14 in the first quarter.
Mitchell wasn't alone in the scoring either, with Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson coming to life in the first half with 15 points.
And by the time halftime rolled around, Mitchell had poured in 13 more points for 27 total in the first 24 minutes, a bad sign for LLA.
The Jazz carried a 66-53 over the Clippers into the half, connecting on 10-of-21 3-pointers in the first two quarters.
And when the third quarter started, Mitchell continued to make it look too easy.
The Clippers wouldn't lie down, with Reggie Jackson catching fire in the third quarter to help keep them within arms reach.
Though every time the Clippers made a run, the Jazz had an answer, and the answer was in the form of nine more points from Clarkson in the third quarter to bring his total to 24 through three periods.
But the onslaught from Reggie Jackson continued, and his fourth 3-pointer gave the Clippers their first lead of the game.
In the end, the Jazz were able to regain composure and close out the game thanks to a late 9-0 run.
The Jazz now own a 2-0 lead over the Clippers with the series heading to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.
Right out of the gate in Game 3, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks had a different level of energy than they displayed in the first two games.
Antetokounmpo recorded multiple thunderous dunks to get the home crowd fired up.
And Antetokounmpo got help from his All-Star teammate Khris Middleton as well, who scored 15 points in the first quarter to help push the Nets to a 30-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the Nets had a run in then – a 17-2 run to be exact – to get back into the game early in the second quarter.
It was sparked by Bruce Brown's personal eight-point flurry to cut the Bucks lead to six points.
Brown continued to pour in points, scoring 12 in the first half to lead the Nets in scoring and cut a once 21-point deficit to just three at the break.
Milwaukee will carry a 45-42 lead into half, behind 20 points from Middleton and 16 from Antetokounmpo, who is 2-for-7 from the line and 0-for-4 from 3.
The silver lining for Brooklyn? Kevin Durant has just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting. Meaning if he turns it on, it could be trouble for Milwaukee.
And surely enough, Durant was in the middle of all of the action in the third quarter, scoring 12 points in the frame to make his imprint on the game.
He also got into it with Bucks forward P.J. Tucker, adding an extra layer of intensity to the night.
When the fourth quarter rolled around, it was once again Bruce Brown that was making clutch plays on both ends of the floor for the Nets.
But in the end, it was the Bucks who held on to win Game 3 and finally get on the board in the series, thanks to the late-game heroics of Middleton, who scored eight of the Bucks' last 10 points en route to a 35-point night.
The Nets and Bucks were the two highest scoring teams in the NBA this season, but Game 3 was a war, with neither team finding consistent offense.
By the end of the game, both teams shot below 40% from the field with them making 14 combined 3-pointers.
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