Kiwi Sean Marks has seen NBA championship dreams fade, as his Brooklyn Nets stumbled in a series-deciding overtime thriller against Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points, including the tying basket in overtime, and Khris Middleton hit the go-ahead shot with 40.7 seconds left, as Milwaukee pulled out a 115-111 victory over hosts Brooklyn.
The Bucks survived a 48-point performance by Kevin Durant, overcame losing the first two games - including a 39-point loss in Game 2 - and advanced to the conference finals for the 10th time in team history and second time in three seasons.
Antetkounmpo capped a 15-for-24 shooting performance by hitting a turnaround hook shot in the lane over Durant with 72 seconds left and the Bucks took the lead for good when Middleton hit a fadeaway 12-footer just over 30 seconds later.
The third-seeded Bucks will face Sunday's Game Seven winner between Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks in the conference finals.
As Nets general manager, Marks had assembled a stellar roster that included former Most Valuable Players Durant and James Harden, and seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving, coached by two-time MVP Steve Nash.
But Brooklyn struggled to keep their stars healthy all season, with Durant, Harden and Irving played only eight games together. They began this series with Harden nursing a hamstring injury, but when Irving fell to an ankle sprain in Game Four, Harden returned, albeit well short of his best.
"I wasn't planning on losing, so I don't know how to feel," says Durant, who averaged 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists over the seven-game series.
"I'm always thinking about our team and how we can get better."
Durant came within millimetres of winning the game at the end of regulation, when his long-range basket with a second remaining was ruled a two-pointer, his foot on the arc.
"I feel like sh*t, honestly," says Harden. "So many emotions for me personally.
"It's frustrating for myself - just being durable and being myself for so many post-seasons, and having to deal with this particular hamstring. We did everything we could towards the end."
Marks has already won NBA rings as a player and assistant coach with San Antonio Spurs, but will have to wait another season for another as GM.
"This is just the start of our journey," tweets Nets owner Joe Tsai. "Appreciate our guys, who left it all on the floor.
"Appreciate our fans - you are the loudest and best!.