The Milwaukee Bucks have defeated the Brooklyn Nets 124-118. The Nets fall to 43-23, good for 2nd in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, the Bucks improve to 41-24, good for 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks could not hit a shot in the first 4 minutes, as Brooklyn took a 9-4 lead early. However, the Nets would go on to miss their next 6 shots, and the Bucks went on a 10-1 run to take a 14-10 lead. The Nets did not change up their strategy from last game, as they allowed Giannis Antetokounmpo to take wide-open jump shots and he was making the Nets pay. Kyrie Irving got off to a much better start this game, with 9 points and 4 assists in the first quarter, while Kevin Durant led Brooklyn with 10 points. Jeff Green added 6 points, while Joe Harris also had 6 points including 2 back-to-back three-pointers after starting 0 for 3. Jrue Holiday was torching the Nets with 14 points, while Antetokounmpo had 11. At the end of the 1st quarter, the Bucks led 34-33.
In the second quarter, Antetokounmpo continued hitting jumper after jumper. Mike James entered the game for the Nets in the second quarter and made his impact known right away. James scored 7 points in less than two and half minutes of play. Additionally, Antetokounmpo got his 3rd foul at the 7:57 mark of the second quarter after Durant took a charge from him, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer had to take him out of the game. Through most of the half, the game was very close, including 4 lead changes and 3 ties. After trailing 51-48, Milwaukee ended the half on an 18-7 run. Finally, the Bucks led 66-58 at the end of the 2nd quarter.
For the Nets to take the lead and finish out the game, they will need to take better care of the basketball. Brooklyn had 7 turnovers in the first half, compared to Milwaukee’s 6. Milwaukee scored 8 points off the Nets turnovers, whereas the Nets only capitalized for 6 points off of Milwaukee turnovers. Additionally, Brooklyn will need to shoot better from the free-throw line. The Nets shot 6 for 13 from the line in the first half, good for only 46%. If the Nets hit all their free throws, their deficit would be only 1 point.
Furthermore, Brooklyn will need to defend Antetokounmpo and Holiday better, as well as Bryn Forbes. Antetokounmpo and Holiday will continue to get their own, but Brooklyn cannot allow Forbes to go for 11 points and 3 three-pointers. Also, Irving and Durant need to step up and be more involved in the offense. Despite neither having bad halves, Irving and Durant combined for only 31 points, while Antetokounmpo and Holiday combined for 36 points. If they do not step up, Milwaukee will pull away and beat the Nets for the second consecutive game.
Antetokounmpo picked up right where he left, making his matchup DeAndre Jordan look silly possession after possession. The Nets were fighting hard, showing a much more competitive spirit. Brooklyn would continue getting within a score or two, and then Milwaukee would score back-to-back baskets to enlarge their lead. Milwaukee’s lead got as high as 10 in the quarter. However, Irving and Durant caught fire in the final few minutes of the quarter, willing the Nets to finally reclaim the lead. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Nets led 94-92.
Blake Griffin and Green hit back-to-back three-pointers to start the fourth quarter, giving Brooklyn their highest lead of the game at 5 points. James continued his fearless play, hitting a step-back three-pointer to give the Nets a 6 point lead. Following this, Milwaukee went on a quick 7-0 run to take the lead back. Giannis took over the game and was able to extend Milwaukee’s run to 18-1. The Nets soiled their many opportunities in the end game to take the lead, with Durant missing back-to-back three-pointers that would have cut Brooklyn’s deficit to 2 with a minute remaining. With the loss, the Nets are now 33-2 with the lead after three quarters. The Bucks outscored the Nets 32-24 in the fourth quarter, giving them a 124-118 win.
Upcoming Game for the Nets
Brooklyn will be off tomorrow as they travel to Dallas. On Thursday, the Nets will take on the Mavericks. The game will start at 7:30 PM EST and will be broadcasted on TNT.
Performances of Note
Kyrie Irving – 38 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 14-25 FG, 6-12 3PT, 4-5 FT, 39 minutes
Kevin Durant – 32 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 11-22 FG, 4-8 3PT, 6-7 FT, 40 minutes
Joe Harris – 12 points, 4-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 33 minutes
Jeff Green – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3-5 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-6 FT, 34 minutes
Mike James – 10 points, 4-6 FG, 2-3 3PT, 10 minutes
Giannis Antetokounmpo – 36 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 11-30 FG, 4-12 3PT, 10-12 FT, 37 minutes
Jrue Holiday – 23 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, 8-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-4 FT, 36 minutes
Khris Middleton – 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 9-18 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-4 FT, 36 minutes
Bryn Forbes – 14 points, 5-10 FG, 4-7 3PT, 27 minutes
Donte DiVincenzo – 10 points, 15 rebounds, 5-10 FG, 0-3 3PT, 29 minutes