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Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash wasn’t concerned with Bruce Brown taking two of his team’s last shots in an 86-83 Game 3 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Those were the looks the game dictated.
Though neither of Brown’s late attempts—a driving layup and a 15-foot pull-up—went in, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were the wrong shots to take.
“We had great looks,” Brown said after the game. “We just didn’t make them tonight.”
Instead, the Bucks scratched out their first win of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They trail the series 2-1 and will try to again defend their home court in Game 4 on Sunday.
Until the last minute of regulation, there was hardly anything to worry about when Brown had the ball. The starting small forward was 8-of-15 from the floor with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes.
Then he tried to win the game for Brooklyn himself.
The first of Brown’s final attempts came with 20.3 seconds left in regulation and Brooklyn up 83-82. His floater in the lane missed only for Giannis Antetokounmpo to grab the board, leading to a Jrue Holiday layup on the other end.
Coming out of a timeout with 11.4 seconds left and the Nets down 84-83, Brown missed a layup that was quickly rebounded by Khris Middleton. That forced Brooklyn to commit a pair of fouls, ultimately sending Middleton to the line where he sank two free throws to put the Bucks up by three.
Kevin Durant’s desperation three-point attempt at the buzzer nearly sent Game 3 to overtime, but clanked off the back of the rim.
Nash didn’t have an issue with either look from Brown. The 24-year-old was simply trying to take advantage of what the Bucks’ defense was giving him. After trailing by as much as 21 earlier in the night, the Nets fought back to make it a one possession game on the road in the final seconds.
The shots just didn’t fall.