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Middleton, Antetokounmpo lead Bucks past Nets to force Game 7

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (shooting) scored 19 points in each half of a win over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series Thursday in Milwaukee. Photo by Jason Szenes/EPA-EFE
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (shooting) scored 19 points in each half of a win over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series Thursday in Milwaukee. Photo by Jason Szenes/EPA-EFE

June 18 (UPI) -- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and the Milwaukee Bucks responded to a lopsided loss with a dominant Game 6 victory to force a Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Middleton scored a playoff career-high 38 points in the 104-89 triumph Thursday at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

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The series returns to Brooklyn on Saturday for Game 7 to determine which team advances to the Eastern Conference Finals.

"As a group we knew when to drive it, who to attack and to sometimes just make the simple play," Middleton told reporters.

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Middleton made 11 of 16 shots from the field, 5 of 8 3-point attempts and totaled 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals in Thursday's win. Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with 17 rebounds.

Nets star Kevin Durant, who scored 49 points in Game 5, scored 32 points with 11 rebounds and three assists in Game 6. The Bucks led by as many as 21 points and outscored the Nets 26-4 on fastbreak points.



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The Bucks opened the game on an 11-2 run and never lost that lead. Antetokounmpo scored 11 points in the first 12 minutes and the Bucks led 26-19 to start the second quarter.

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The Nets cut the deficit to four points in the second quarter, but the Bucks responded with an 8-2 run to end the frame and led 59-48 at halftime. Middleton, who scored 19 points in each half of the victory, scored 17 in the second quarter.

Durant scored 12 points in the third quarter and the Nets trimmed the deficit to five points, but the Bucks responded again and led 78-67 to start the final frame.

Middleton poured in 11 points down the stretch to help the Bucks secure the win.

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Bucks guard Jrue Holiday scored 21 points with eight rebounds, five assists and four steals in the win. James Harden scored 16 points with seven assists and four steals for the Nets. Nets center Blake Griffin chipped in 12 points.

"We were down early and got ourselves back into the game," Durant told reporters. "I felt like we were right there, but just couldn't get over the hump."

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Game 7 is at 8:30 p.m. EDT Saturday and airs on TNT.

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