One would have thought after a game 1 loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and with James Harden out due to injury, the Milwaukee Bucks would have put on a better performance.
A lot of words can describe Monday night’s 125-86 blowout loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Let’s go with disappointing.
It was disappointing because the Bucks could have evened the series at 1-1. It was disappointing because the Bucks had a prime opportunity to showcase why they are an NBA Finals contender but didn’t. It was disappointing because the Nets were without Harden, and they didn’t take advantage.
Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. CT in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Nets twice during the regular season inside the Fiserv Forum.
Milwaukee scored just 19 points in the opening quarter, trailed by 24 at halftime, fell behind by as many as 49 points, and couldn’t muster enough offensive power to score more than 24 points in any quarter.
The Bucks did score 52 of their 86 points in the paint, but it was the 3-point shooting that didn’t put many smiles on fan’s faces. They shot 8-of-27 (29.6) percent, after shooting 6-of-30 (20 percent) in game 1.
That is a combined 14-of-57 (24.6 percent) shooting from long range in the two games thus far in the series. During the regular season, Milwaukee ranked fifth in 3-pointers made (14.4) per game and 3-point percentage (38.9).
Giannis Antetokounmpo ended with 18 points and 11 rebounds and played just 31 minutes. He sat the entire fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday scored 13 points, Khris Middleton tallied 17 points, and Brook Lopez added 10 points.
Middleton would say during his post-game interview that the Bucks need to respond at home to get back into the series.
Holiday was a bit more honest in his response to a question after the game, saying, “the loss sucks…”
Kevin Durant scored 32 points in three quarters on 12-of-18 shooting. Kyrie Irving added 22 points, while the Nets made 21-of-42 from the 3-point range. Brooklyn also shot 52.1 percent from the field.
Things quickly got out of control in game 2, as the Nets held a three-point lead, 13-10, in the first quarter and quickly pushed it to a double-digit lead over a three-minute span.
Brooklyn’s lead hovered in the 20-plus point range and ballooned to over 30 after a 10-1 scoring run to close out the third quarter.