Here are the key takeaways…
– Just as they did in Game 5, the Nets came out of the gates sluggish on Thursday, as Giannis Antetokounmpo spurred the Bucks to an early 11-2 lead. When a Jrue Holiday three ballooned that lead to 18-5, Steve Nash was forced to call a timeout midway through the quarter.
Coming off a historic performance in Game 5, Kevin Durant paced the Nets early with 10 points in the first, but Milwaukee led 26-19 heading into the second.
– With just under eight minutes to go in the half, Durant checked out of the game for the first time, and after playing all of Game 5, his stint on the bench marked his first rest after 62 combined minutes of game action.
Meanwhile, James Harden was clearly still hampered by his hamstring injury, but he was much more of a scoring threat in Game 6, as he scored 11 points in the second to help the Nets dig back into the game. The Nets kept it within single digits for most of the quarter, but a late spurt from Khris Middleton had Milwaukee up 59-48 at the break. Harden led the Nets with 14 points through the first half.
– Durant did his part to try to keep the Nets in the game in the third, at one point scoring 10 straight points for the Nets. Milwaukee maintained control of the momentum and the lead throughout the quarter, yet their lead still hovered around the 10-point mark.
Durant had 12 points in the quarter and 25 for the game to that point, but a last-second Middleton layup made it a 78-67 Bucks’ lead through three.
– The Bucks scored the first four points of the quarter, capping off a 10-0 run to push their lead to 82-67. But the Nets answered back with a 10-run of their own, as Joe Harris hit a three to make it a five-point game with under nine minutes to go.
But Middleton, Antetokounmpo, Holiday and the Bucks proved to be too much to handle, as the lead ballooned back up to 20 points, prompting Nash to rest his starters for the final 4:45 of the game.
– Middleton led all scorers with 38 points, while Antetokounmpo had 30 and 17 rebounds. For the Nets, Durant led the way with 32 points, but didn’t get much help. Harden had 16 points and seven assists.
Game 7 will be Saturday in Brooklyn, with tipoff set for 8:30 p.m.