During his years with the Rockets, P.J. Tucker was never able to get past Kevin Durant‘s Warriors teams in the playoffs, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The Bucks acquired Tucker at the trade deadline to match up with elite scorers like Durant, and he finally prevailed over his long-time rival in Milwaukee’s Game 7 victory Saturday night.
The Bucks used several players on Durant during the series, but the primary job belonged to Tucker, his friend and fellow Texas alum. Durant had another incredible performance Saturday with 48 points in 53 minutes, but he air-balled a shot at the end that could have sent the game to a second overtime.
“It’s painful. I’m hurting. That was a battle every single night,” Tucker said. “To be able to finally get over the hump is pretty nice.”
There’s more on the Bucks:
- Brook Lopez was determined to make up for a mental error he committed late in the fourth quarter, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Lopez lost track of the shot clock with 8.1 seconds remaining, resulting in a turnover that gave the Nets a chance to tie the game. He responded by blocking a layup attempt by Durant with a minute left in overtime. “After that (shot clock violation) happened, I just took it upon myself,” Lopez said. “I told my teammates, ‘I made a mistake, but let’s go get this.’ I’m gonna fix this, we’re gonna fix this and so it happened, but it was great to see how resilient we were.”
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is making his second trip to the conference finals, wants to make sure his teammates stay focused on the challenge ahead. After Saturday’s win, he wrote an 8 in the locker room, which is how many more wins the Bucks need to capture a championship, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “It’s a great feeling,’’ Antetokounmpo said. “I try not to get too high or low. I got emotional a little bit out there. The team really tried their best. Just being able to come to New York and were 0 for 5 here and in Game 7 and everyone’s anxious and nervous and able to execute and trust each other. It was big time. I’m really happy for this team. We’re halfway through. I want everyone to cherish this moment.’’
- Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee have been rumored for head coaching opportunities around the league, and Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer believes they’re ready, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. “They’re incredible coaches,” he said.