The Milwaukee Bucks are headed back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points and Khris Middleton had 23 to get the Bucks past Brooklyn 115-111 in overtime of Game 7 Saturday night.
The game was tight throughout, as the lead changed hands 20 times and the two sides were tied 10 other times. The back-and-forth continued down the stretch of regulation. Milwaukee went on a 8-0 run to grab a 104-101 lead with 2:32 left. It was 109-105 with 1:05 left before Kevin Durant hit a jumper to make it a one possession game. After the Bucks turned it over on shot clock violation, Durant drilled a deep shot with his toes just barely on the 3-point line with 1.0 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period, it was a war of attrition. Brooklyn had a 113-111 lead for nearly four minutes before Antetokounmpo backed Durant down into the lane and hit a jump hook to tie it. After a Brook Lopez block of a Durant drive, Middleton hit a turnaround jumper to hand Milwaukee the lead back with 40.7 seconds left. This time Durant was not able to hit the potential game-tying shot, putting up an airball with just .3 seconds left to send Milwaukee to the conference finals for a second time in three years.
In addition to his scoring, Antetokounmpo had 13 rebounds and five assists. He became just the third player in NBA history to tally at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a Game 7 and he’s the only player to do it in a victory. He did it while playing 50 of a possible 53 minutes.
Jrue Holiday struggled with his shot much of the night, but hit two huge shots late in the fourth quarter, including a step-back 3-pointer. He ended up scoring 13 points and dishing out eight assists, while Brook Lopez had 19 points and eight rebounds.
Durant played the entire game and dropped 48 points and nine rebounds. James Harden also played the entire game, scoring 22 points, though he was just 2-for-12 from beyond the arc. He revealed afterwards he had been playing a grade 2 hamstring strain suffered in Game 1.
Milwaukee improved to 3-8 all-time in Game 7s and became the first team in franchise history to recover from an 0-2 deficit to win a series. It sends the Bucks to the conference finals for a 10th time in team history, where they’ll face either Philadelphia or Atlanta. Those two teams will meet Sunday in a Game 7 of their own.