When: 12 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports Go
The Brooklyn Nets are coming off of an up-and-down game on Friday. In Brook Lopez’s return to Brooklyn, the Nets were unable to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Lopez was a key cog in the Lakers’ victory, taking over in the fourth quarter. For the Nets, the game was marked by a lack of attention to detail. The offense became stagnant and Brooklyn gave up 18 offensive rebounds to the Lakers. For the Nets, the issue on the boards may not have been size – the issue was hustle.
The Nets lost to the Lakers, 102-99, and were unable to split the season series with Los Angeles. It was a winnable game, but the Nets were unable to execute. Brooklyn’s 20th win (the same number they finished with last season) still eludes them.
On Sunday afternoon, the Nets will play the Milwaukee Bucks. The Nets and Bucks faced off just nine days ago in Milwaukee, a game in which Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable with a monster 41-point, 13-rebound, 7-assist performance. No Net scored more than 15 points in the 116-91 loss. Sunday’s game will be played at Barclays Center and the Nets are looking to win the second matchup between the two teams.
Here are three things to watch for in Nets-Bucks!
Attention to Detail
As was mentioned earlier, the Nets could have won Friday’s game against the Lakers. Now, that could be said for every game, but there were sheer areas that if the Nets had the advantage, they would have an easy victory. They were outrebounded big time, 56-38, and 18-5 on the offensive boards. That disparity wasn’t just due to the Nets playing small ball. Josh Hart (6’5”) had three offensive boards. Larry Nance (6’9”) had four in 16 minutes. Corey Brewer (6’9”) and Kyle Kuzma (6’9”) had two offensive boards apiece. The Nets simply didn’t do a good enough job of hustling for rebounds, and that led the Lakers to get second and third chances.
The Nets also shot 69.6 percent from the free throw line – down from their 76 percent on the season. Free throws should be easy points. If the Nets had played with more attention to detail and more hustle, it would have paid off. They’ll look to bring more intensity against the Milwaukee Bucks, a long and springy team themselves.
Return of Jabari
Jabari Parker is back for the Milwaukee Bucks. The former No. 2 pick played in his first NBA game in nearly a year after an ACL tear last season. He scored 12 points on Friday against the Knicks, trying to return to form. Parker is another weapon the Bucks can use, providing consistent scoring outside of Giannis. For Milwaukee, it’s a positive. But for the Nets, it could be another issue. While he may be on a minutes restriction, defending Parker should be part of the gameplan for Kenny Atkinson and company.
Jarrett Allen continues to improve. On Friday, he had a career-high 20 points, looking unstoppable at points. His footwork, agility and bounciness were on full display for most of the game. While the 19-year old struggled with fouls a bit, it was one of the better games of his young career. Allen has earned starter’s minutes in Brooklyn’s big man rotation, which could further aid in his rapid development.
Playing against Milwaukee could be a different beast altogether. Last game against Milwaukee, he had 12 points and six rebounds, but Bucks’ interim coach Joe Prunty will likely play some funky lineups. Against the Knicks, Giannis played at center down the stretch. Milwaukee has one of the most versatile lineups in the NBA, full of long arms and athleticism. With many different looks, Allen could have a hard time. Can he step up again?