Bucks duo smash records in clutch battle despite Giannis’ three-point nightmare

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Bucks duo smash records in clutch battle despite Giannis’ three-point nightmare

Down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and with the Bucks’ season on the line, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton stood tall in a clutch 86-83 win over the Brooklyn Nets, outduelling Kevin Durant in an epic clash that went down to the wire.

Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 14 rebounds, while Middleton rebounded from two poor games to begin the series by scoring 35 points and 15 rebounds – including two free-throws with less than three seconds remaining.

Their combined 68 points was 79 per cent of the Bucks’ total, the highest combined percentage of a team’s points in NBA playoffs history. No other Bucks player reached double-digits in points.

Kevin Durant heaved a deep three on the final buzzer, but his equaliser barely missed. He finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Fri, 11 Jun

Friday June 11th

The Nets’ 83 points was a season-low. Kyrie Irving had 22 points and five rebounds, while Bruce Brown had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

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GIANNIS’ SHOOTING STRUGGLES

Plenty has been made of Ben Simmons’ struggles from the free-throw line this post-season, especially after Sixers coach Doc Rivers benched the Australian after missing a pair of fourth-quarter attempts from the line in Game 2.

But he’s not the only one who can’t find the net from the charity stripe. Now two-time MVP Antetokounmpo is struggling, making just four-of-nine in the game – including just two of seven first-half attempts.

That came after he made 2 of 10 from the line in the first two games of the Eastern Conference semi-finals series.

The Milwaukee Bucks superstar airballed one shot, and was even called for a ten-second violation for the second time this playoffs, after taking over 13 seconds to begin one attempt.

The Nets had trolled Antetokounmpo’s long shooting routine earlier in the series, putting up a timer on the ‘jumbotron’ – and sending fans wild – in Game 1 at the Barclays Centre. The NBA ordered an end to that tactic after the game.

The Greek Freak led the NBA in free-throw attempts during the regular season with 581, connecting on just 68.5 per cent.

And it’s not just his free-throws that have looked awkward this post-season. The Greek Freak, so destructive attacking the rim, repeatedly pulled up in transition for three-point shots … and missed.

In the first half against the Nets, he hit none of his five attempts from deep. Home fans even began to boo and groan whenever Antetokounmpo let it fly.

In the opening two games of the series, he landed 2-of-8 from beyond the arc. Things were even worse in the four-game sweep of the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Antetokounmpo hit just one of 16 attempts that series – scoring an average of less than seven per cent – despite often getting wide-open looks.

But when things went down to the wire in the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo finally shook his shooting woes, scoring two free-throws in succession to make it 4 of 9 from the stripe then his first three-pointer from seven attempts – only to miss his next shot.

That saw him finish with one three-pointer from eight attempts (12.5%). His struggles were representative of the entire Milwaukee team, who shot just six of 31 from deep (19.4%). P.J Tucker had none from three, Brook Lopez one from five, and Jrue Holiday one from four.

Only Middleton, with three from six attempts, will be pleased with his efforts from beyond the arc.

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Hi, my name is Ankita Dixit. I started writing from young age and most of my writing skills and knowledge are self taught. Currently, I am working as a professional writer at Paisa.co. I have write on various topics including travel, motivation, finance, technology, credit cards, insurance and entrepreneurship etc.