With one team chasing a 3-0 lead and the other staring down an offseason of change, the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks resorted to running the same basic actions over and over down the stretch of Thursday's ugly Milwaukee win.
On one end, Kevin Durant called up Floater God Bruce Brown for picks -- knowing Brook Lopez, guarding Brown, would drop back and concede pull-up 2s. On the other end, Khris Middleton called up Giannis Antetokounmpo for picks -- knowing Blake Griffin would drop back and concede pull-up 2s.
For one team, the repetition (and apparent lack of other options) was framed as lack of creativity from a coach in Mike Budenholzer who might be coaching for his job. For the Nets, it was framed as somewhat calculated. The Nets leaned on Durant, one of the greatest players ever, and the Bucks leaned on Middleton -- a two-time All-Star who does not strike the same terror into defenses, and cannot rise into open skies the way Durant can.
I would expect more diverse offenses in Game 4. For all the hand-wringing about how Milwaukee abandoned the entire idea of organized offense for much of Game 3 (and they did), the Bucks finished with a higher shot quality than the Nets -- considering the location of each shot, the specific shooters, and the proximity of defenders, per Second Spectrum.
We will see new wrinkles on defense, and in lineups. The Bucks already had Lopez venturing farther toward screens in an effort to neuter Durant's long 2s. (P.J. Tucker was tireless fighting over picks.) Both teams have sprinkled in late switches; perhaps they will try more -- or even the occasional hard trap.
But the onus is on Milwaukee. The Bucks have scored 94.6 points per 100 possessions in this series -- eight points below the Oklahoma City Thunder's league-worst offense. Bad shooting luck aside -- and it's telling that about half of Milwaukee's 3s in this series have come off the bounce, as compared to 30% in the regular season -- that scoring number is embarrassing.