NBA: Giannis, Bucks survive Durant, Brooklyn to reach East finals


Posted at Jun 20 2021 11:36 AM | Updated as of Jun 20 2021 01:32 PM

NBA: Giannis, Bucks survive Durant, Brooklyn to reach East finals 1
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) puts up a one handed jump shot over Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) in the second quarter during game seven in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points, and the Milwaukee Bucks survived another monster game by Kevin Durant to beat the Brooklyn Nets 115-111 in overtime on Saturday to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. 

The Bucks, who withstood Durant's 48 points and his overtime-sending long 2, await the winner of the Atlanta Hawks-Philadelphia 76ers series, which will play Game 7 on Sunday. 

Third seed Milwaukee advanced to the conference finals for the 10th time in team history and second time in three seasons. 

The best-of-seven series has featured almost everything, including epic scoring performances, aggressive fouls, rim-rattling dunks, series-ending injuries and of course Saturday's winner-take-all Game 7, which turned into a see-saw affair with dozens of lead changes throughout. 

"I want to be great," Antetokounmpo said. "We had to give everything. We know we were going to be tired at the end of the game."

Brooklyn sent the game to an extension after Durant stuck the dagger jumper with the Nets defense virtually draped over him with 1 second left in regulation, the score knotted at 109-all. 

But Durant, who played a game-high 53 minutes, would not score in overtime. 

Bruce Brown's field goal to begin the extra session was Brooklyn's lone basket in that period. 

Antetokounmpo then scored on a turnaround hook shot in the lane over Durant to make it 111-all, and Khris Middleton hit a short jumper to put Milwaukee in front. 

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With 11 seconds remaining, Durant had a chance at a final attempt but missed the net completely. 

"We got looks, we just didn't knock them down," said Durant.

Middleton finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals playing 52 minutes, while Brook Lopez had 19 points and 4 blocks. 

Antetokounmpo added 13 rebounds and 5 assits for the Bucks, who shot 43.9 percent, hit 15 3-pointers and survived Middleton and Holiday going a combined 14-for-49 from the field

James Harden, who has been nursing a bum hamstring, contributed 22 points, but shot just 5 of 17 from the field, including 2 of 12 from 3-point territory. 

He and Durant each played the entire game, but they missed a third part of their Big 3 in Kyrie Irving (sprained right ankle). 

— With a report from Reuters, Agence France-Presse


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