Kevin Durant was a shoe size from sending the Brooklyn Nets to the Eastern Conference Finals but the Milwaukee Bucks have taken game seven 115-111 in a thrilling over-time.
The Nets looked to have snatched the result in the final second of the game when Durant nailed an off-balance fadeaway from the edge of the arc, but his shoes were just touching the line.
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There was just one second left in regulation time and it looked to have sealed it for the Nets and sent the super team into the Eastern Conference finals, but upon replay, it was two-points, locking it up at 109-all and forcing overtime.
Post-game, Durant said he thought it was a three.
“But my big ass foot stepped on the line,” Durant said. “I just saw how close I was to ending their season with that shot.”
Durant broke the record for the most points in a game 7 by the end of regulation time with 48 points.
The Nets were built to win with Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving all in Brooklyn to bring home the championship.
While the trio has had little time on the court together this year — including in the playoffs with Irving suffering an ankle injury earlier in the series, even a Big Two of the talent of Durant and Harden was believed to be enough.
Now it will be up to next season as the Bucks head into the Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of game seven between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bucks on the other hand are built around Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP as the side was unable to get past the Conference Finals in 2018-19 and Conference Semi-finals in 2019-20 despite topping the Eastern Conference ladder.
In a low scoring OT period, the Nets hit the lead early but couldn’t capitalise on wasted opportunites from the Bucks but two each from Giannis and Khris Middleton gave the Bucks a two point lead with 40.1 seconds on the clock.
It appeared to leave it down to Durant to do it himself but after missing a midrange jumper, he could only muster an airball going for the win, leaving 0.3 seconds on the clock.
The Nets could only manage 1 from 12 in overtime, losing their first home game of the playoffs to be ousted from the playoffs.
A strange ending with a foul allowing Brooks Lopez to finish off the game with two free throws allowed after a foul in an anticlimactic finish but the result was in the books with Milwaukee through to the Conference Finals.
Durant finished with 48 points with nine rebounds and six assists, while James Harden added 22 points, nine boards and nine assists.
But it was mostly cancelled out by Giannis’ 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Middleton had 23 points, 10 boards and six assists.
After the game, Giannis still paid tribute to Durant and his incredible performances during the playoffs.
“A couple of days ago I said he’s the best player in the world, he’s still the best player in the world,” Giannis said post-game. “He knew before this series, we had to do it as a team. We had to guard him as a team, we had to defend their whole team as a team, we had to play offensively as a team and that’s what we did.”
But Durant was less impressed despite his 248 points the most points in any playoff series of his career.
“Not at all, who cares,” he said when asked if his performances temper his disappointment.
It was a wild series with the Bucks coming from 2-0 down to send it to game seven, winning the series in the Nets’ backyard at Barclays Centre.