Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the youngest player in the NBA, and Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce is one of the league's oldest veterans. But youth can easily get befuddled by experience, and Pierce gave Antetokounmpo one of his first "Welcome to the NBA" moments, freezing Antetokounmpo on the perimeter and driving in for the layup. Sick move from Pierce

 

Alan Anderson

Alan Anderson & the Brooklyn Nets dunked the Milwaukee Bucks, snapping a two-game losing streak. (AP)

Well, it's good to know there's a floor on this thing.
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O.J. Mayo, Nicolas Batum

The Nets take on O.J. Mayo and the Bucks tonight. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets travel tonight to Milwaukee to face the only team perhaps more broken than them in the Eastern Conference: the 4-15 Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks enter tonight with the league's worst offense, and their best player (Larry Sanders) sidelined after undergoing surgery on his right thumb. They're led instead by guard O.J. Mayo, who's averaging 14.9 points in 31.4 minutes per game on 41.3 percent shooting.

The Bucks are one of the league's worst teams at converting high-percentage shots. They're shooting 55.1 percent on shots in the restricted area, second-worst in the NBA, and have shot the second-fewest corner three-point attempts in the league. Mayo is front and center there: the team's leading scorer has shot a putrid 45.6 percent from within five feet, well below the league average.

But it's not the inside the Nets should worry about, particularly given their poor perimeter defense as of late. The Bucks have three rotation players (Khris Middleton, Mayo, Gary Neal) shooting over 40 percent from three-point range,

They also employ rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his giant hands:


Not photoshopped.

It's been a difficult road as of late for these Brooklyn Nets, who fell to 5-14 after a crushing 113-83 loss to their cross-borough rival New York Knicks in their home building. Chants of "Garnett Sucks!" and "Let's Go Knicks!" peppered throughout the building, and when PA announcer David Diamante implored the crowd to stand up, he was met with a chorus of boos from the split crowd.

The Knicks loss was the second straight for Brooklyn, their sixth straight at home, and their ninth in the last eleven games. They'll be without Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry once again. Their lineup is depleted, their offense lacks identity, and their defense is broken. The Nets are hurtling towards rock bottom faster than gravity allows.

But the Milwaukee Bucks, on the second half of a back-to-back following an overtime game, may be just the medicine for their struggles.

 


This was a fun one to watch, right?

While the Brooklyn Nets went relatively standard for their last play in overtime -- give the ball to Joe Johnson, get the hell out of the way -- P.J. Carlesimo drew up something starkly different in the waning moments of regulation, turning Iso-Joe/HeroBall-Joe into Curl Screen Joe/Open Look Joe, and the playcall gave the Nets exactly what they needed.

The Nets ran a variation of a similar play they'd run against the Los Angeles Lakers to get Deron Williams a look earlier in the season, but with a few tweaks to make it a more successful option. Against the Lakers, the play was doomed from the start; against the Bucks, it got Brooklyn an open look.

Let's break it down.... MORE →

 

Yesterday's game marked the inaugural run of "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak predicting how well the Nets will do in each game for a chance to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

The game is as simple as it sounds:

1. The contest relies on a standard betting line for each game. (Note: you must be logged into Facebook to play.) To make your prediction, select YES or NO to agree or disagree. For example: yesterday's statement was: "Brooklyn will beat Milwaukee by 5 or more points." Since they only won by two, the people who selected "NO" won the first game, and currently have a streak of one. (That was 34% of you.)

2. String together wins and try to get the longest streak of correct predictions before the end of the NBA regular season. Follow game results on the leaderboard on the right sidebar.

At the end of the season, we'll award three prizes to the players with the best three streaks: The Gold Net Trophy (longest streak) and a $200 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to first place, the Silver Net Trophy (second-longest streak) and a $50 Amazon Gift Card to second place, and the Bronze Net Trophy (third-longest streak) $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Bronze Net Trophy to third place.

Read more rules for the contest here.

Good luck!

 

Warm-Ups


The Game Starts Now... MORE →

 

 

Grade the Game At Any Time!

Tonight: Fresh off nearly a week's worth of rest thanks to the All-Star break, the 31-22 Brooklyn Nets play host to the 26-25 Milwaukee Bucks, at 7:30 P.M. EST tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This is the first game of a back-to-back home-and-home that will wrap up the season series between these two teams.

Watch & Listen: Tonight's game is broadcast on YES Network. Ian "The Birdman" Eagle and Mike "The Czar" Fratello are on the call. The game is radio simulcast on WFAN, and in Spanish on WADO.

The BK Game Streak: Today marks the first day of "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak of wins along the betting line over the course of the season. Three prizes will be awarded at the end of the year, with first prize a $200 Amazon Gift Card. Log in with Facebook to get started, vote in the box above, and good luck!

More on tonight's game, including injuries and stats, after the jump... MORE →

 

Before we get into today's preview, I'm excited to announce a new season-long contest we have today, courtesy of B3TZ Sports: The BK Game Streak!

The game is as simple as it sounds:

1. The contest relies on a standard betting line for each game. To make your prediction, select YES or NO to agree or disagree. For example: in today's contest, if you think the Nets will win by five or more points, select "YES." If you think they'll win by four or less, or lose, select "NO." Earn a win for every correct pick. (Note: you must be logged into Facebook to play.)

2. String together wins and try to get the longest streak of correct predictions before the end of the NBA regular season. Follow game results on the leaderboard on the right sidebar.

At the end of the season, we'll award three prizes to the players with the best three streaks: The Gold Net Trophy (longest streak) and a $200 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to first place, the Silver Net Trophy (second-longest streak) and a $50 Amazon Gift Card to second place, and the Bronze Net Trophy (third-longest streak) $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Bronze Net Trophy to third place.

Read more rules for the contest here.

Good luck! Now, onto tonight's contest.

Three Things to Watch in Nets-Bucks

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Gerald Wallace Brooklyn Netsvia Newsday's Rod Boone:

Gerald Wallace has never been shy about how much he hates losing -- you can hear it in his baritone after every loss -- but has never derided his Brooklyn teammates for contentedness before tonight's 108-93 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

After an 11-4 start, the Nets have skidded back to .500 by losing 10 of their last 13 games. Wallace is averaging 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game, shooting 44.1% from the field. Despite his relentless energy that birthed the nickname "Crash," the team has struggled with Wallace on the floor this season.

 

 


Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD

Scarily Mo Johnson-esque. Had a couple of tough looks rim out, but the problem is that he's taking tough looks -- and lots of them -- in the first place. Offense should not be this hard for a team this good.

Gerald Wallace SMALL FORWARD

Flirted with a triple-double; an A+ for his non-shooting impact and an D- for his shooting impact, so let's split the difference. Really felt his impact in the second half. as he drew two offensive fouls, blocked two shots at the rim, and hit a nice tip-in. But he can't be your most effective starter.

Brook Lopez CENTER

He's not pre-injury levels yet, but he's slowly but surely scraping there. Still not quick enough to defend the pick-and-roll effectively -- if he ever was -- and he's shooting too much, but they're shots that will go down in time.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

At one moment in the first half, Andray Blatche went into full point-center mode, found Joe Johnson open for a three, Johnson missed, he dove for the rebound, was called for a foul, flung his headband to the bench, and was called for a technical foul. It was the most Andray Blatche moment in Andray Blatche history.

Other than that, some good moments for Blatche tonight, including some behind-the-back goodness, steals, and blocked shots. But there are so many plays when the lane is an ocean with him on the floor.

Keith Bogans SHOOTING GUARD

We haven't talked much about Bogans in the grades lately, mostly because there's not much to say: he shoots corner 3's, plays decent defense on whichever wing player he's switched on, and that's pretty much it. But in the spirit of giving him credit, he was the only Nets player hitting from beyond the arc tonight (despite a sad, late airball) and got involved in enough possessions to say he didn't have a terrible game. If only role players playing their roles was enough in the NBA.

MarShon Brooks SHOOTING GUARD

Got a lot of minutes, but they weren't terribly loud. Did have one block on Ekpe Udoh at the rim that was all kinds of awesome, so that salvages him slightly.

Tyshawn Taylor POINT GUARD

Taylor's first game as the second-string point guard went surprisingly well: the rookie played a little out of control, but splashed shots from varying areas on the floor, including a nice three-pointer that cut the Bucks lead to 4 in the fourth quarter. Attacked the basket and showed off some nice hops. You hope not to see too many minutes for him long-term, but if tonight was an encouraging performance.

C.J. Watson POINT GUARD

Missed a lot of shots, had some issues distributing the ball, and didn't look like a starting-quality point guard. So he filled in for Deron Williams quite well.