Bucks blow big lead, then rally to edge Nets 86-83 in Game 3

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Milwaukee Bucks' P.J. Tucker and Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant have words during the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball semifinals game Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE – Jrue Holiday figured the Brooklyn Nets expected him to call a timeout as soon as he got the ball with his team trailing by one in the final minute.

Instead, Holiday delivered just in time to keep the Milwaukee Bucks from falling into a hole from which no NBA team has ever recovered.

His driving layup with 11.4 seconds left put the Bucks ahead for good and they held on for an 86-83 victory Thursday night that cut Brooklyn's lead to 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I felt like maybe they thought I was going to call a timeout,” Holiday said. “I think in my head, I was thinking maybe I should run some clock. But I saw Bruce Brown one-on-one, so I made a move. It was a good one and I ended up getting a layup.”

Kevin Durant’s 3-point attempt to tie bounced off the rim as the horn sounded. He scored the Nets’ last nine points and finished with 30.

The Bucks will try to even the series Sunday in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee relied on its defense as a game featuring the NBA’s two highest-scoring teams from the regular season turned into a 1990s-style defensive slugfest.

Brooklyn had its lowest scoring output of the season. Milwaukee matched its lowest point total of the season from its 125-86 Game 2 loss.