Happy Boxing Day! As the Nets stare into their own abyss and scrape the bottom of the pit for the few positives, the Nets travel to Milwaukee to do the only thing worth traveling to Milwaukee for: play a professional basketball game for thousands of dollars.
The 14-14 Nets have now lost nine of their last 12 games after lolling their way into a 93-76 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Celtics on Christmas. The Bucks are 14-12 despite allowing their opponents to score 1.5 more points per 100 possessions. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, their two best scorers, are both shooting under 40% from the field this season. They’re vulnerable, but sneaky — and the Nets found that out on December 9th.
Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Marquis Daniels, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Larry Sanders
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez
Milwaukee Bucks: 97.7 offensive rating (27th), 99.9 defensive rating (9th), 96.21 possessions per game (7th)
Brooklyn Nets: 103.3 offensive rating (11th), 103.7 defensive rating (21st), 89.98 possessions per game (30th)
Last time: The Bucks came to Brooklyn and handed the Nets their fourth straight loss without Brook Lopez. Milwaukee’s Backcourt combined for 50 points on 16-32 shooting and Joe Johnson didn’t crack double digits. It was a dark day in The Black House.
Will this time be different? As mentioned, Brook Lopez is back in action tonight after missing the last go-round between these two teams. Lopez is averaging 21.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per 36 minutes and the team scores 106.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, the best of any individual player. He’ll match up against Larry Sanders, who currently leads the league with 3.1 blocks per game, an unconscious 9.3% block percentage, and a defensive rating of 93.4. Sanders is a long, athletic marvel — the type of player a focused Lopez tends to play well against.