Game 3 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets felt more like a Game 7 as the teams slugged their way to an 86-83 final, setting some postseason ‘history’ in the process.
The 169 combined points finished 66 points below the closing total of 235, making the biggest margin to the under in the NBA Playoffs in the last 30 years.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Bucks got the job done holding off a late Kevin Durant flurry and escaping a few late-game floaters from Bruce Brown to hold serve on home court and cut the series deficit to 2-1.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (33) and Khris Middleton (35) combined for 68 of the team’s 86 points with no other player reaching double-figures.
For the Nets, Durant led the way with 30 points but was just 11-of-28 from the floor. Kyrie Irving added 22 with Brown scoring 16, but Joe Harris (1-11) and Blake Griffin (2-5) combined for just eight points.
Brooklyn covered the +3.5-point spread.
The previous record for a postseason total going under was between the Jazz and Denver Nuggets in 2020 when the teams combined for 158 points, finishing 59.5 points under the 217.5 total.
That was Game 7 of a wildly high-scoring first-round series in the bubble.
The Celtics and Pacers finished 52.5 points under the total of 210.5 in 2019. That was in Game 1 of that first-round series. The second game ended at 190 total points, under the total of 206.5. That was up from the opening number of 204, which shows the 6.5-point adjustment made by oddsmakers.
The Celtics were involved in another first-round game that stayed well under the total, finishing 44.5 points below the 205.5 total against the Hawks in 2015-16. That was Game 2. Game 3 finished with 214 total points, going over the 203.5 number. That was up from the opening line of 200.
Game 4 between the Bucks and Nets opened 230.5, down from Thursday night’s 235 and it has already moved to 229.5 (real-time odds here). The two teams will meet on Sunday in a pivotal Game 4 as Milwaukee looks to even the series.
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