March 26, 2019

Nets hit 19 3-pointers; D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 27 points and Shabazz Napier gets his first career double-double against the Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets may be No. 2 in the NBA Western Conference, but there is something about the Brooklyn Nets that the Nuggets just can’t shake. The Nets became the second team this season to sweep the Nuggets (2-0), the other being the Milwaukee Bucks. And, because teams only play teams outside their conference twice in a season, there won’t be an opportunity for the Nuggets to even the score, so see you next season.

Perhaps, the Nuggets got too comfortable with their 14-point lead in the first quarter. Or, perhaps it was Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s decision to pull starting forward Rodions Kurucs, who wasn’t as productive as he could have been, and slide in DeMarre Carroll in his place, but whatever the reason, in short order the momentum changed. The Nets ended the first quarter down five points, Nuggets 35 – Nets 30. Brooklyn turned up the heat in the second leading by as much as 14 points at 5.6 seconds before ending the half up by 12 with a score of 72-60. The Nets saw more gold in the third quarter ending it up by 21 with a score of 108-87. Now, the Denver Nuggets are No. 2 in the Western Conference for a reason, and in the fourth stanza, the Nuggets dug deep into their inner being and gave the Nets a run for the money. Fortunately for the Nets, the Nuggets couldn’t seal the deal and the Nets won 135-130.

With the win, the Nets improved to 29-27 overall and 17-12 at Barclays Center and besting last season’s win total of 28-54, a huge accomplishment.

“I think it’s a sign of real progress,” Coach Atkinson said about the Nets’ current standing in the NBA. “It’s a sign that we’re a little ahead of schedule – I don’t want to get too excited because I look at the schedule for the rest of the year, but this was one of those games I looked at the schedule and said this is gonna be a tough one to get. But, I’m proud of the guys, proud of the organization. We’ve reached this victory mark this early – it’s a sign of real progress.”

At the end of a game, there are some coaches that take a loss and don’t show their disgust or disappointment in their team’s performance. However, last night, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone gave kudos to the Brooklyn Nets, and overall, he was not happy with his some of his starters.

“The 3-point line was a byproduct of the real difference in the game which was how hard Brooklyn played,” Coach Malone told the media. “I think it’s a shame I have to take five starters out in the third quarter because you’re not playing at the level you’re supposed to play. This is a game of mistakes, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to miss shots. Things are going to happen but when you’re out there and you’re going through the motion, that’s one thing I can’t stand to watch and will not stand to watch. I was really happy and proud of the guys who went into the game in that third quarter. They got us back in the game and gave us a little bit of life. Nineteen threes is an awful number, but alarming for me is back-to-back games when we have guys out there in our starting lineup and not playing as hard as they need to play.”

Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell explained how the Nets were able to take advantage of the Nuggets.

“I think it’s just us figuring out how to win,” Russell said. “Last year we were in this position a lot of the times and it came down to that – figuring out how to win situation. I think we were really putting our foot on that.”

And, on how good it felt as a group for the Nets to get their offensive groove going after Monday night’s shellacking by the Milwaukee Bucks, Russell said: “It’s special. To be honest, we got our guys coming back. We’ve been doing this without our guys so just to get our guys back in one at a time and keep that groove going, I think it’s really special.”

D’Angelo Russell was one of seven Nets players scoring in double-digits against the Denver Nuggets. Russell led the Nets with 27 points (6-of-9 3FG), six rebounds and 11 assists in 35 minutes and registered his single-season career-high sixth double-double in the process. And, he will now play in the NBA All-Star game replacing the Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo who is out with an injury. DeMarre Carroll, posting his third double-double of the season, recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high-tying six assists and a season-high four steals (matching the most steals recorded in a game by any Net this season) in 28 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris scored 17 points (7-of-13 FG, 3-of-6 3FG) with five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 32 minutes. Treveon Graham tallied 16 points (6-of-9 FG, 4-of-6 3FG) – marking his second-most points scored in a game in his career – with three rebounds, two steals and, an assist in 23 minutes. Both Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson logged 15 points and Allen added five rebounds to his total. Shabazz Napier, part of the Nets second unit last night, posted his first-career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists in 27 minutes.

For the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic registered 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists; former Nets player, Mason Plumlee, posted 24 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots; Jamal Murray accumulated 19 points, 11 assists, and three rebounds; Monte Harris, came off the bench and scored 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Malik Beasley, a starting guard, tallied 17 points, and; Trey Lyles, a member of Denver’s second unit chipped in 15 points and five rebounds.

With Plumlee being a former Nets player, of course, someone had to ask Coach Malone about Plumlee’s performance last night.

“He was everywhere,” Malone responded. “The guy was blocking shots on defense, running the floor and finishing around the basket. He was screening, rolling. What didn’t Mason Plumlee do to start that game? Literally, Mason was everywhere. Mason played hard. Mason cared. Mason left everything he had on the floor until he fouled out. You have to give a guy who plays that hard respect.”

Yes, you should.

So, what’s Denver’s next move?

The Denver Nuggets will be in Philadelphia tomorrow, Friday, January 8, 2019, to play the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, the Nets will still be at home and will host the Chicago Bulls, also tomorrow, Friday, January 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 

 

Nets in striking distance of Bucks through first-half, but overwhelmed by Bucks in 3rd quarter 36-22; Nets still 6th in NBA Eastern Conference

The Brooklyn Nets have been undergoing a rough patch lately. All teams in the NBA go through a backward slide during the NBA season at some point or another, even the reigning NBA champion, the Golden State Warriors, as of today, has lost 15 games this season. However, when you’re fighting for relevancy and trying not to fall out of NBA playoff positioning, you have little room for error and so is the case for the Brooklyn Nets.

Last night, and every game at this point and going forward is important for the Nets. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Nets couldn’t pull off a win against the Milwaukee Bucks, the current number 1 team in the NBA. The Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 113-94. With the loss, the Nets fell to 28-27 overall and 16-12 at Barclays Center. Meanwhile, the Bucks improved to 39-13 overall and 17-9 on the road. There’s little surprise that the Nets would lose to a team aiming to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, but the play of game exposed how Nets player injuries have put a serious dent in the Nets ability to keep pace with an elite team operating at full strength.

Even Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer agrees.

“Brooklyn’s really banged up so it’s almost not fair,” Budenholzer said graciously. “But for us on the end of a road trip, it’s a good win.”

Budenholzer highlighted key elements that helped the Bucks pull off a win against the Nets: “Really good win. The focus coming out of the halftime was really good. Khris (Middleton) had a stretch there for two or three minutes -- kind of put us on his back, and obviously, Giannis is special. I thought the defense between (Eric) Bledsoe and Malcolm (Brogdon) on D’Angelo Russell and Shabazz Napier was very good.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson sees a silver-lining ahead for his team, as Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe will be at a full-on practice today.

“Progressing great,” Atkinson said about LeVert during his pregame press conference last night. “He will practice with the G-League team tomorrow, a full-on practice. Allen Crabbe will be in that bucket too and then we will evaluate after the practice, but both of them (are) progressing nicely.”

Nets guard D’Angelo Russell is chomping at the bit for Crabbe and LeVert’s return to the lineup because he knows how much their return will help the team.

“A lot, a lot, a lot,” Russell said about how much getting Crabbe and LeVert back in the lineup would help the team. “It’s forcing Coach to really go deep in the bench (player absences), but you get that caliber of guys back and you’re at another level, so the sooner the better.”

In addition to LeVert and Crabbe being out for the Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie, a team leader, is also out. Dinwiddie underwent successful surgery last week to repair ligaments in his right thumb. There is no timetable for his return as yet. And, Nets center Jarrett Allen acknowledges Dinwiddie's importance to the team and what the Nets are missing without Dinwiddie’s presence.

“Just Spencer driving to the rim,” Allen said. “Just Spencer being able to create space. Just him all around.”

Regarding Nets scoring leaders, Russell led the Nets with 18 points and five assists in 29 minutes against the Bucks. Shabazz Napier, who made his second start for the Nets last night, recorded 15 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 28 minutes. Theo Pinson added 10 points, a career-high-tying eight rebounds, and two assists in 26 minutes off the bench.

Although (Jarrett) Allen did not score in double-digits, he led the Nets in rebounding with 11.

For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 30 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, and three blocked shots; Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points and eight rebounds; Eric Bledsoe registered 15 points, five assists, five steals, and three rebounds, and; Khris Middleton chipped in 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.

The Bucks are heading home to Milwaukee to host the Washington Wizards, tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6, at 8 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Nets will stay at home and host the Denver Nuggets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

D’Angelo Russell leads Nets win with 29 points against the NBA leader, the Toronto Raptors

For the Brooklyn Nets, the end to the long drought of wins came yesterday against the No. 1 team in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors. It took an overtime session to clinch the win, a third overtime game this season for the Nets by the way, but the Nets beat the Raptors 106-105.

This win, took down a number of demons, the first of which, the Nets ended a 12-game losing streak against the Raptors and the team’s season-worst eight-game losing streak. The win improved Brooklyn’s overall win-loss record so far this season to 9-18, and 4-10 at the Barclays Center.

The last time the Brooklyn Nets won a game this season was way back on November 20, 2018, against the Miami Heat on the road in Miami. The journey to get here was a bit tumultuous, as Brooklyn led so many games in the closing minutes only to drop the ball and allow the other team to win. Watching them give up double-digit leads and lose games in the closing minutes this season, gave many the feeling that perhaps, the team felt they were not worthy of winning. However, Friday night, Brooklyn pushed that monkey off its back and was justly rewarded by the basketball gods. Beating the Raptors should be a sign that this is a win they can build upon. And, don’t cry for the Raptors, they still hold the best record in the NBA.

“Obviously, it’s a great win for us just to get off of the losing streak, the skid that we were on,” Nets forward Joe Harris said about finally getting a game in the win column after a long drought. “We’ve been playing great basketball, and we just haven’t been able to execute and finish down the stretch. Tonight it was with our defense. Big plays. Big possessions. Winning plays all the way around. Obviously, Rondae did a hell of a job individually, defensively, but it was a collective effort for sure.”

Harris also felt this Nets win against the Toronto Raptors is better than other wins this season because the Raptors are number one in the league.

“Yeah, I think it just kind of validates what we were already feeling,” Harris continued. “We’ve obviously been able to compete night in night out with everybody that we’ve played against. Toronto up to this point, even now, has been record-wise the best team in the NBA, and they really have been playing the best basketball. For us to come in and get some validation that our process, we’ve been sticking with it, staying consistent, and we were finally able to execute and finish one off.”

To say that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson was elated with this win would be an understatement.

“I think that stop at the end of the game was indicative of who we were all night,” Atkinson said about his guys. “We fought, we clawed and the basketball gods shined on guys that have been playing good basketball and guys of high character and guys that are together and spirited. So it’s just nice to see those guys in that locker room rewarded for their efforts.”

Leading the way in points for the Brooklyn Nets were D’Angelo Russell with a team-high 29 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and registered 17 points and eight assists; Jarrett Allen scored a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and added two steals and two blocked shots; both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe tallied 11 points and four rebounds, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Nets forward Ed Davis led the way in rebounding with 15 rebounds, of which 13 were defensive rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 32 points for the Raptors; teammates Jonas Valanciunas added 24 points and eight rebounds, while Pascal Siakam contributed 16 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots.

Toronto returns home to host the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow, Sunday, December 9, 2018, at 6 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Nets will travel across the East River to Manhattan to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight, Saturday, December 8, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Can the Nets make it a two-game winning streak?

Only time will tell.

Brandon Jennings scored a game and season-high 36 points for the Bucks, and Carmelo Anthony finished with a team-high 35 points for the New York Knicks

With the New York Knicks offense struggling and the team on a 5-game losing streak, head coach Mike D 'Antoni can't wait until Baron Davis gets healthy enough to bring stability and veteran leadership to the backcourt. It may not happen for a couple of more weeks, but it's not because of a lack of effort on Davis' part.

Prior to the game against the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night, Davis talked about his health and the state of the team. It hasn't been easy watching the team go through the offensive funk that has them averaging only 88 points in their 8 losses. They have scored over 100 points only 3 times, winning 2 of those games. Defensively they have been better than in the past under D 'Antoni giving up 100 points or more in 4 out of the 14 games they've played. With Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire on the floor, points should not be hard to come by. Both have been in a funk evidenced by their poor performance in the Wednesday night loss to Phoenix. They combined for 35 points but needed 44 shots to do so. Only Stoudemire's free throws (9 out of 10) made his final line look respectable. Granted, Anthony has been hampered by a sore wrist and ankle and Stoudemire may still be dealing with a sore back, but as a team, they have not moved the ball well enough to give their teammates open looks and uncontested shots. That's where Davis is hoping to contribute when he's ready to play.

"I can shoot, dribble and a lot of spot shooting," said Davis sitting in front of his locker.

He basically does this alone with the help of the assistant coaches and watched closely by the training staff. He's doing things in moderation while working on conditioning drills.

"It's a process," he continued. "It's strength, it's conditioning, it's balance. It's being able to do that on a consistent basis day in and day out and wake up the next day and be ready to progress forward. I'm making leaps and bounds and huge strides to get myself on the court."

In the meantime, when the ball goes up in the air, Davis is relegated to being a cheerleader and teacher. When Toney Douglas' poor early season play forced D 'Antoni to bench him in favor of first-year guard Iman Shumpert, Davis had already been mentoring him while he was waiting to come off the bench. He was giving Shumpert advice and making sure he never lost confidence. Shumpert isn't his only pupil.

"We have a lot of young guys on the team," Davis continued. "If I see a weakness in a defender on the floor I will talk with Toney or Shumpert about it. I try and work with the younger guys to get them to hone in on the fundamentals. As we proceed thru the season, those are the things that are going to push us over the top."

As he watches his team from the bench, dressed to the nines, Baron Davis is learning the offense he will be running as soon as his back can handle the everyday pounding. As easy as it may look from his vantage point, putting it into action with a new group won't be easy. He doesn't think it will take that long to pick things up.

"I'm the type of person that I pick up things very, very quickly when I'm out there."

He will do that with a starting line-up that is still trying to develop offensive cohesiveness.

"Any time you have these many new faces in a system, it takes everyone to really catch a rhythm and to get on a roll. You have to be patient. Offensively I know that will come around."

It didn't come around against the Bucks as New York fell behind early in the fourth quarter by as many as 17 points in their 100-86 loss. Brandon Jennings, who torched the Knicks the last time he touched the Madison Square Garden floor for 37 points, scored a game and season-high 36 points. Carmelo Anthony finished with a team-high 35 points but his frustration showed after with 1:33 left in the game as he was hit with his second technical foul resulting in his ejection. The Knicks lost for the 5th straight time and their 3rd straight at home. D 'Antoni said the team was in "crisis" after Wednesday's loss. You can add turmoil as well.

"It's the whole team," he said afterward. "We are just not sharp. It looks like they are running circles around us. It is not just one guy. We wouldn't be this bad. Again, we have to dig deeper and get through this."

Getting Baron Davis on the floor would be a good start.

Never knowing which Nets team is going to show up, Keith Bogans rises to the occasion and Joe Johnson hits the winning shot

When the Brooklyn Nets stepped on the floor at the Barclays Center to start the second half of their NBA season, everyone from the players, to the coaching staff, to the fans wondered which team they would see. Would it be the team that won 11 of its first 14 games to start the year resulting in then-head coach Avery Johnson being named Coach of the Month? Or would it be the team that lost 11 games the following month that cost Johnson his job? Or would it be the team that won 9 of its first 10 (7 wins in a row at one point) games under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo finishing the first half with a 17-8 record under him? Their overall record of 31-22 had them in second place in the Atlantic Division only 2 1/2 games behind the Knicks. Despite Deron Williams' health and inconsistent play between him and fellow guard Joe Johnson, center Brook Lopez responded from an early ankle injury to play his way onto the Eastern Conference All-Star team. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclay Center last night a team they had not beaten in 13 straight games. By night's end, there were still many questions to be answered.

At the start, there were more positive answers, as Brooklyn jumped all over the Bucks taking a seven-point lead (31-24) at the end of the first period. The trio of Williams, Johnson, and Lopez combined for 20 points. It got better in the second period as the Nets extended the lead to as many as 15 (56-41) after a short Lopez jumper. Milwaukee dwindled the lead to 10 at the half, as Bucks guard Brandon Jennings started what would be a big night for him scoring five of his 11 first-half points.

Jennings, on the strength of scoring 16 third-period points, carried the Bucks to a one-point lead (81-80) nailing 6 of 9 shots (2 of 3 from 3-point land) going into the final period. The largest lead by any team was no more than 5 points (87-82) after Bucks Ekpe Udoh bank shot as both teams made big baskets down the stretch.

With the score tied at 94 and 5:26 left, each remaining possession was treated like a Game 7 playoff, with no team ever leading by more than three points. After a Williams jumper brings Brooklyn within 1 (101-100) Andray Blatche gives them a brief lead after making two free throws. After a Larry Sanders offensive tip regains the Milwaukee lead (102-101), Nets Williams got called for an offensive foul and sent Jennings to the free throw line (he made both) giving them what looked like an insurmountable lead 105-102. Brooklyn's Joe Johnson then broke the Bucks heart not once but twice.

The first came when he hit a three-pointer at the end of the regular period buzzer (105-105) sending the game into overtime. Nets Keith Bogans began the extra frame by contributing his own three giving Brooklyn a very brief 108-105 lead. The Bucks crashed the offensive boards their next two possessions outscoring the Nets 6-0 pushing ahead 111-108. But Brooklyn was not done. Bogans continued his hot streak draining another three-pointer, tying the game at 111. With 1.4 seconds left, Johnson curls left at the top of the key after getting a pass from Williams and hits nothing but the bottom of the net sending the Bucks home and putting an end to their 13-game losing streak at the hands of the Bucks. It was Johnson's third game-winning shot of the season.

Brooklyn had a lot of questions coming into the game against the Bucks. The win was a good answer to start the second half of their season. A win they can't celebrate for long, as they travel to Milwaukee Wednesday night where the Bucks will look to begin another winning streak.

Dwane Casey agrees to a 5-year deal as Pistons' new head coach

Few people, if any, expected Dwane Casey to be without a head coaching position for the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season after his abrupt firing by the Toronto Raptors on May 11.

And today, that belief proves to be true.

Casey has reached an agreement on a 5-year deal to become the next coach of the Detroit Pistons, league sources tell ESPN.

What’s The 411Sports reported on a recent episode that Casey, along with former Bucks coach, Jason Kidd, had interviewed for the Piston’s head coach position. In the last few days, reports stated that the Pistons had narrowed down its search between Casey and John Beillin of the University of Michigan. Beillin pulled his name from consideration, according to Clutch Points.

However, Casey is no consolation prize, as he is the Raptors all-time leader for the most regular-season games coached (397) and the most regular-season game wins (210). Additionally, this past season, Casey led the Raptors to its best season with 59 wins and 23 losses and the No. 1 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference. He was also voted National Basketball Coaches Association’s coach of the year for the 2017-18 season.

VIDEO: Dwane Casey: The mindset of a winning NBA head coach

 

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson, explains the Nets' loss to Milwaukee Bucks

What hurt the Nets the most this afternoon?

“Our start,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media without hesitation.

“Somehow, for some reason, we weren’t ready,” Atkinson continued. “I don’t understand how that happens. I’m a little upset with our group that we weren’t more ready mentally, physically. You give up 36 points in the first quarter; it’s like, that team is too good, too good to let that happen. We did show some fight with our bench. I thought they came in and gave glimmer of hope there. But too big of a hole against a very talented team.”

 

DeMarre Carroll scores 11 of 15 points in first quarter; Nets bench kept team in the game; Coach Atkinson visibly disturbed by Nets effort in first quarter

It’s NFL Super Bowl Sunday, and the Brooklyn Nets had a 12-noon date with the Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo aka the “Greek Freak”.

For the Brooklyn Nets, things got ugly fast. Save, DeMarre Carroll and Jahlil Okafor off the bench, the Nets shots weren’t going down; their trajectory seemed to be off, too much force, too much spin, etc., etc. Meanwhile, the Bucks seemed to be scoring at will.

At the end of the first quarter, it was Bucks 36, Nets 22. When the Nets dig themselves into a hole early, the outcome is usually not good, and today’s 109-94 thumping by the Bucks proved the point.

What hurt the Nets the most this afternoon?

“Our start,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the media without hesitation.

“Somehow, for some reason, we weren’t ready,” Atkinson continued. “I don’t understand how that happens. I’m a little upset with our group that we weren’t more ready mentally, physically. You give up 36 points in the first quarter; it’s like, that team is too good, too good to let that happen. We did show some fight with our bench. I thought they came in and gave a glimmer of hope there. But too big of a hole against a very talented team.”

The Nets’ bench outscored the Bucks’ bench 38 – 30; however, the Bucks outrebounded the Net 54-36.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: BROOKLYN NETS HEAD COACH KENNY ATKINSON (AUDIO)

“Against some of the best teams in the league, we’ve competed and we’re ready, but we were on our heels from the start,” Atkinson added. “And if you do that against a bigger team, a more athletic team, that’s just going to happen. You have to take 36 (points Bucks made in the first quarter) on the chin. So we just weren’t ready for the fight. I thought (Eric) Bledsoe set the tone. I thought he was the difference. He was an absolute ball of fire out there. We couldn’t stop him. Obviously, Giannis (Antetokounmpo) is going to do what he’s going to do, but Bledsoe really set the tone for them and dominated us.”

Spencer Dinwiddie, who did not have a good day in the points’ column, picked up his eighth game of double-digit assists this season. He totaled one such game in his first three NBA seasons combined and he credits his teammates for getting the Nets back in the game.

“I think Caris [LeVert] and D-Lo [D’Angelo Russell] did a great job picking up the pace, Staus [Nik Stauskas] hit a big shot,” Dinwiddie said. “I think Joe [Harris] had great energy, DC [DeMarre Carroll] was part of that run as well as Quincy [Acy], so I think those guys should be attributed for that run. Give all credit to those guys for getting us back into it; obviously, we didn’t get close enough.”

DeMarre Carroll recorded a team-high-tying 15 points and three rebounds in 32 minutes, with 11 of his points coming in the first quarter. Caris Levert came off the bench to also score 15 points and he leads the Nets with 27 games scoring in double figures off the bench this season. Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen tallied 14 points (7-of-11 FG) and a team-high seven rebounds in 27 minutes in his fourth-career start for Brooklyn. Allen Crabbe chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

Like Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell was not a points’ leader against the Bucks, but he recorded seven assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

Eric Bledsoe led all scorers with 28 points and six assists in the win for the Bucks. John Henson tallied 19 points and 18 rebounds; both Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo scored 16 points, while Antetokounmpo added eight rebounds to his tally.

Antetokounmpo twisted his right ankle with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining and left the game, not long after the Nets had cut what had been a 28-point deficit to seven. Post-game, the Greek Freak assured the media that he’s fine and would have gone back into the game if his team needed him.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO AKA "THE GREEK FREAK" (VIDEO)

This game against the Nets was Jabari Parker's second game after returning from a year-long injury and he helped the Bucks with 11 points off the bench. Bucks head coach Joe Prunty is pleased with Parker’s progress so far and is looking forward to Parker’s contributions.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: JOE PRUNTY, MILWAUKEE BUCKS, INTERIM HEAD COACH (VIDEO)

Next up for the Milwaukee Bucks is the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

The Nets will host the Houston Rockets also on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at home at the Barclays Center.

Jeremy Lin still on the sideline with injury; Nets go into NBA All-Star break with a 13-game losing streak and a 9-47 record, the worst in the league

‘Twas their last game before the NBA All-Star break and fans were flowing into the Barclays Center to watch the Brooklyn Nets host the Milwaukee Bucks. It has been a rough season for the Nets who entered the contest looking to break a 13-game losing streak and avoid a series sweep with the Bucks for the season. Nets point guard Jeremy Lin was on the sideline again with a hamstring injury but it is believed that Lin will return to action after the All-Star break. Quincy Acy was also listed as inactive for the Nets. On a positive note, Brooklyn power forward Trevor Booker was listed as questionable prior to the game but did suit up to take the court.

While the Bucks would be without their power forward Jabari Parker, they did have the man affectionately known as the “Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Limiting the offensive power of Antetokounmpo would be a tall order but one that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was capable of fulfilling.

After winning the opening tip-off, the Nets exploited the Bucks’ inability at defending the three-point line as center Brook Lopez hit his first two three-point attempts helping Brooklyn jump to an early 11-5 lead. In the first quarter, Brooklyn only committed two turnovers. The Nets’ inability to take care of the ball has plagued them this season. Even though they were able to reduce their turnovers, the Nets were ineffective at defending the pick and roll leading to Milwaukee points in the paint. At the end of the quarter, Brooklyn trailed by six points.

Milwaukee built on their lead in the second quarter but the offensive spark provided by Booker off the bench kept the game within reach for the Nets. Lopez continued his excellent play which brought Brooklyn within two points at the half.

The start of the third quarter was difficult for the Nets as their offense went cold and further hampered by the amount of turnovers committed by the Nets. In his postgame conference, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson acknowledged the issue and the possible causes of the turnovers.

“I just felt like we’re trying to make difficult plays when the simple play is available,” Atkinson told reporters after the game. “And, what can I say? We’re going to keep working on it.”

Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s offense ran like a machine going on a 15-4 run resulting in Brooklyn trailing by 13 points going into the fourth quarter. In order to leave the court with a win, the Nets had very little margin for error. Lopez’s play has always been steady and stellar but one man can’t do it alone. Fortunately for Brooklyn, he didn’t have to. Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie were instrumental in the surge that brought the Nets within two points with one minute remaining. Unfortunately, the Nets fell short by four points, 129-125. Dinwiddie gave some insight into his goals going into the fourth when he said that he wanted to “just get quality looks and hopefully get stops on the other end and just cut into the lead.”

Even though the season has not been stellar in terms of wins and losses, one thing that has remained consistent and positive for Brooklyn has been their competitive spirit.

The Milwaukee Bucks coached by former Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd, came into the Barclays Center and wreaked havoc on the Brooklyn Nets. Just two days before, the Nets played like they belong in the conversation about top NBA teams when they stunned the Los Angeles Clippers with a 127-122 double overtime win.

The Nets started off staying close; in fact, during the first half, the teams looked evenly matched. The Nets were even up 60-59 three minutes into the third quarter. But the Nets’ the third quarter nemesis showed up and said not so fast, and the team’s fortunes quickly changed. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks went on a tear ending the third quarter 90-78.

“I think turnovers hurt us,” said Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “Just giving them too many easy baskets and, you know, third quarter again – they outscored us pretty good there, so we’ve really got to look at what we are doing there. And we are looking at it and trying to figure it out, but we haven’t figured it out yet.”

Early in the fourth quarter, it was a 10-point game, Bucks 92 and the Nets 82. But, the Nets just couldn’t get over the hump. They had too many missed opportunities in the fourth quarter, shooting 2-for-14 over the first six minutes. Meanwhile, the Bucks knocked down three 3s in less than 90 seconds.

“I think our offense got really stagnant,” Atkinson said. “Give them credit, they switched a lot of our stuff and forced us into a lot of one-and-one play and the ball stopped moving.”

In the win, Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo had 23 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, Jabari Parker scored 22 points, and Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell each added 13 points.

Brook Lopez posted 15 points for the Nets. Sean Kilpatrick, who was signed out of the D-League last season, and who scored a career-high 38 points against the Clippers on Tuesday, only scored 14 points tonight. Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 for the Nets.

This was not a fun game to watch. Only the presence of former president Bill Clinton, a marriage proposal, and Clinton taking a photo with the engaged couple made it interesting.

Next up, the Nets have an opportunity to avenge the loss as they play the Bucks again on Saturday in Milwaukee.

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