How Nets-Bucks regular season battles played out

It’s the Big 3 versus the two-time MVP.

The much-anticipated Eastern Conference semifinal series between the No. 2 seed Nets and the No. 3 Bucks is finally official after they eliminated the Celtics and Heat, respectively, in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bucks won two of three in the regular-season series, but the Nets didn’t have Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving together for any of those matchups, while the Bucks’ best players — 2018-19 and 2019-20 Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holliday — shared the court in all three. Here’s a recap of those three games:

Jan 18: Nets 125, Bucks 123

In Harden’s second game after a trade from the Rockets, he rebounded his own missed shot and passed to Durant for the go-ahead 3 (and his 12th assist) with 36 seconds remaining. Playing without Irving, Harden and Durant combined for 64 points, and all five Nets’ starters reached double figures.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant
Getty Images (2)

The Bucks’ four-game winning streak was snapped when Middleton missed a potential game-winning 3 from the corner.

May 2: Bucks 117, Nets 114

Antetokounmpo and Durant went back-and-forth in one of the season’s great duels. The edge and the win went to the Greek Freak, who scored 49 points on 21 of 36 shooting, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and added eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Durant scored 42 points in a game-high 40 minutes as part of a double-double (10 rebounds), but he missed a difficult fadeaway 3 at the buzzer. Irving scored 20 with Harden out.

May 4: Bucks 124, Nets 118

After a day off, the teams met in Milwaukee for the second time in three days. The Bucks squandered a 10-point first-half lead and trailed by two after the third quarter and by six with 10 minutes to go. But Antetokounmpo fueled an 18-1 run lead over the next four minutes and finished with 36 points, two off of Irving’s game-high 38.

The Bucks outrebounded the Harden-less Nets, 55-39, with Donte DiVincenzo pulling down a career-high 15. Holliday’s steal from Irving in the final minute sealed the rubber game of the season series.

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