Instead, Holiday delivered just in time to stop the Milwaukee Bucks from falling into a hole that no NBA team has ever recovered from.
His driving layup with 11.4 seconds left gave the Bucks a head start and they held on for an 86-83 win on Thursday night, which reduced Brooklyn’s lead to 2-1. in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference.
“I felt like maybe they thought I was going to ask for a time out,” Holiday said. “I’m thinking in my head, I thought maybe I should be running a clock. But I saw Bruce Brown one-on-one, so I took a step. It was a good one and I ended up getting a layup.
Kevin Durant’s 3-point tie attempt bounced off the rim when the horn sounded. He scored the last nine points for the Nets and finished with 30.
The Bucks will look to tie the series Sunday in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee leaned on its defense as a game featuring the NBA’s two most-scoring teams of the regular season turned into a 1990s-style defensive slugfest.
Brooklyn had its lowest score of the season. Milwaukee tied their lowest points total of the season after losing 125-86 in Game 2.
“Someone was going to win lousy,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “And that was them tonight. “
Khris Middleton scored 35 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 33 for the Bucks. Middleton rebounded significantly after shooting a total of 13 of 43 in the first two games of the series.
It was barely enough.
“At the end of the day, a win is a win,” Antetokounmpo said. “It doesn’t matter if you win by 30. It doesn’t matter if you win by one. You can go home and celebrate the “W”. “
The Bucks took a 21-point lead but had to come back from behind, scoring the final six points after Durant’s 3-point lead increased to 83-80 with 1:23 remaining.
“We didn’t make any shots in the home stretch,” Durant said. “I think we rushed a few opportunities there. “
Holiday scored just nine points and shot 4 of 14, but had the biggest basket of the night.
Brooklyn was leading 83-82 when Brown missed a jumper with just over 20 seconds left. Antetokounmpo got the rebound, the Bucks worked the ball upside and Holiday led the basket to give Milwaukee the lead for a good 84-83.
The Milwaukee defense took over as they continued their reborn performance after the Game 3 fiasco.
“I think part of that is playing desperately, knowing the situation, knowing what this game means to us and what it means to be home,” Holiday said. “And then the other part is the performance we had in the first two games, showing that this is not the type of defense that we play. It was really out of character.
After Brown missed his own driving layup attempt with just over 6 seconds left, Middleton got the rebound. Middleton made a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left to cap the score.
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points and Brown 16 for the Nets in a game neither team led by more than five in the second half.
“It’s a good old school playoff game there,” said Irving.
Nets: Brooklyn was again without All-Star James Harden (right hamstring tight) and Jeff Green (plantar fascia strain). Harden was injured in the first minute of the first game. Green hasn’t played since Game 2 of the Nets’ first round series with the Boston Celtics. … Joe Harris was 1 in 11 overall and 1 in 7 of 3 after averaging 16 points in the first two games.
Bucks: Brook Lopez scored just three points but managed 11 rebounds and six blocks. … Antetokounmpo was 1 of 8 on 3-point attempts and 4 of 9 on free throws, and he committed a 10-second violation on a free throw for the second time in the playoffs. He’s 6 of 19 on free throw attempts in this series. … The Bucks were playing a home game with fans filling all the seats for the first time this season. The crowd included Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith as well as former Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman. Fiserv Forum was at 50% capacity for the Bucks’ first-round series.
With the game resuming in the second half, emotions were running high on both sides.
After PJ Tucker was called out for fouling Durant in the third quarter, Tucker began to complain about the call. This led to Tucker and Durant chewing on each other as they came face to face, with officials calling a double technique on both players.
Although the Bucks won the game, their 3-point issues continued.
The Bucks went 8 of 27 beyond the arc on Thursday and are 20 of 88 on 3-point attempts in that series. Milwaukee achieved a franchise record of 14.4 to 3 points per game during the regular season.
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