The Nets came out the gate struggling. Kenny Atkinson called a timeout at the 10:29 mark in the first quarter after the Bucks went on a short but strong 6-0 run.
Brooklyn started to look a bit better for a short stretch, but the Bucks were in firm control for most of the quarter. They had a balanced scoring attack with Giannis Atentokonumpo, John Henson, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe all getting good looks and creating plays. The Bucks responded to all attempts of a Nets comeback and saw themselves up by 14 heading into the second frame.
But, things only got worse in the second quarter. The Bucks got every look they wanted and the Nets could not do anything about it. Bledsoe took advantage of Brooklyn’s inability to guard the pick and roll and sliced his way into the paint at will. He scored 14 points in the first half and was the driving force of the Bucks during that time.
While he was the best player for the Bucks, almost everybody was involved in their 62-point first half. Brooklyn’s shot just was not falling, shooting 37 percent from the floor and 23 percent from three, all contributing to the Bucks leading by 21 at halftime.
The Bucks picked up where they left off in the third, too. At one point, Milwaukee held a 75-49 lead and the Nets looked hopeless. The Bucks sat their starters and everything looked all but over.
But nothing is completely over with this Nets team. Brooklyn started cutting down on its defensive mistakes and made the Bucks pay with quick transition buckets. Caris LeVert led a third-quarter comeback that saw the deficit go down to single digits. With the Nets pushing the tempo and playing their brand of basketball, things were looking up at that point.
Brooklyn made it interesting to close out the third, but it did not carry over into the fourth. Even though Matthew Dellavadova and Antentokounmpo got hurt in the fourth, Bledsoe, Middleton, and Henson did more than enough to seal the victory for Milwaukee. They all played a huge role in the 109-94 victory.
3 PTS, 7 AST, 1-8 FG
D’Angelo Russell was not good today. He has shown that he is healthy enough to put together a solid performance, but today was just not one of them.
He did a good job of getting to the part of the floor he wanted to, and he got good looks, but the shots just were not dropping. He also had some silly fouls, and he fouled out of a game for just the second time in his career.
There will be better days for him.
15 PTS, 6-7 FG, 1 AST
When the Nets were struggling, you can see in LeVert’s eyes that he never gave up hope. He was getting in the paint and got good looks to fall whenever he was on the floor.
LeVert did not do much else other than score, but he picked up the team’s slack in the third quarter and led the Nets in that huge 23-6 run in the third. Overall, he was solid.
14 PTS, 7 REB, 7-11 FG
Jarrett Allen has been a revelation for these Nets and he did not play a bad game on the offensive side of the ball. He did struggle, however, to defend Henson for most of the game. The size disparity was just too much for him, and Henson took advantage.
Allen’s young age showed itself during the matinee, but that is allowed with at the rate he has progressed.