In a matchup of the two favorites to win the Eastern Conference it was the Brooklyn Nets topping the Milwaukee Bucks 125-123 Monday night.
The game came down to the wire as the Bucks overcame a seven-point deficit early in the fourth quarter. They led 123-122 with under a minute to play when the Nets’ new addition, James Harden, pulled up from beyond the arc. His shot didn’t fall but he grabbed the offensive rebound and found Kevin Durant for a wide-open 3-pointer, which he didn’t miss.
Milwaukee had two chances to hit the game-tying or game-winning shot in the final 29.2 seconds but Khris Middleton couldn’t find the bottom of the net with either of his attempts, dropping the Bucks to 9-5 on the year. It was just their second loss in the month of January.
Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo played 40 of the 48 minutes, scoring 34 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and handing out seven assists. Middleton had 25 points, while guard Jrue Holiday added 22 points and six assists.
The Nets were paced by Harden’s 34 points and 12 assists. Durant added 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Monday’s meeting is the only one between the two teams in the first half of the season, which runs until March 4. The schedule for the second half has not been released.
Milwaukee’s schedule doesn’t get any easier going forward. The Bucks will come home to face the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.