These Nets-Bucks games at Barclays just can’t help themselves.
Maybe it’s fueled by the ghost of Jason Kidd’s coaching career. Maybe it’s just these two teams are perfectly matched for one another in Barclays Center. Maybe it’s just dumb luck that the Nets show everything they’ve got, for better or for worse, when their former coach comes to town.
There are moments where you see the Brooklyn Nets work in sync, when you think the Deron Williams-Thaddeus Young pick-and-roll can be an effective weapon, when Brook Lopez protects the rim on one end and fires a pass out of a triple-team to an open Joe Johnson for a three-pointer on the other, when Lopez ends a man’s game life on a posterizing dunk, when Bojan Bogdanovic oozes confidence and Jarrett Jack limits his mistakes.
There are also moments when it’s not clear just what the Nets are trying to do, when simple passes get picked off or thrown out-of-bounds, when lineups stick around for ten minutes at a time when they probably should play five, when their starting point guard — who had struggled, to be fair — stays glued to the bench for the final 12 minutes of regulation and the entire first overtime in lieu of the player with the team’s worst plus-minus by a Brooklyn mile.
The Nets have had little to hang their hats on this season. They’re drifting out of the playoff race without a draft pick to show for it. But finally winning one of these? They’ll take it.
22 MIN, 4 PTS, 1-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-3 FT, 5 AST, 2 REB, 0 TOV
5 MIN, 0-1 3PT, 3 PF
Foul trouble kept him sidelined for most of the first half and Hollins didn’t release his quick hook.
20 PTS, 7-16 FG, 4-6 3PT, 2-4 FT, 7 AST, 6 REB
Struggled to get anything going early, whether or not the Bucks single- or double-covered him, and didn’t provide much relief on either end of the floor for the first half.
Johnson made two of the game’s biggest shots: knotting it up at 101 near the end of regulation on an open three-pointer, and then doing it once more at the end of the second overtime on a beautifully drawn-up play that led to an open corner three-pointer.
(Side note/fun fact: two years, one month, and one day ago, Joe Johnson hit a contested game-winning shot from the free throw line area to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in double-overtime, 113-111. Fast forward to Friday night, when the contested shot missed by Joe Johnson from the free throw line area would have given the Nets a 113-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.)
Made just enough shots down the stretch to keep Joe Jesus rising.
53 MIN, 24 PTS, 8-20 FG, 3-5 3PT, 5-7 FT, 5 REB, 3 AST
Another hot start, picking up 10 points in the first quarter on two corner threes and a variety of shots inside. Kept on the offensive pressure throughout, including two big free throws in the second overtime when both teams struggled to put anything in the basket. Proving more and more that he’s a solid pickup — and who saw this three-point shooting coming?
With that said: despite the fact that he’s worked well in tandem with Lopez so far, it may behoove the Nets to find another rebounder. The team got beaten badly on the glass tonight by Zaza Pachulia, Ersan Ilyasova, Giannis Antetokounmpo, et al.
42 MIN, 32 PTS, 13-20 FG, 6-6 FT, 18 REB, 2 AST, 5 BLK, 1 TOV
It took until the third overtime until Lopez ended a man’s life with a dunk, but it happened, and holy Batman was it glorious.
Continues his weirdly dominant glasswork, partially fueled by the Nets lacking rebounders throughout the rest of their roster[note]Cory Jefferson excluded[/note], and threw in easy shot after easy shot in the paint.
But with the Nets mounting a comeback in the fourth, Hollins elected to keep Lopez on the bench for nearly ten minutes. Lopez didn’t have an impact in those final possessions as the Nets went to overtime. But without Lopez fighting the entire Bucks team for rebounds, the Nets don’t get this win.
41 MIN, 13 PTS, 5-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 8 REB, 7 AST, 5 TOV
Had a typically Jackian set of misfires throughout until the fourth quarter, when he morphed into a solid point guard and led the Nets on the comeback trail with smart pick-and-roll decisions, playing both hero (securing a key offensive rebound with 40 seconds left to maintain possession in a tie game) and goat (forcing an off-balance, double-clutch shot in the lane that didn’t fall).
Jack continued his struggles in the overtimes, including an ill-advised, badly missed three-pointer with a hand in his face early in the shot clock.
21 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-3 FG, 4 REB, 2 STL
“I hope my (Miles) Plumlee plays better than their (Mason) Plumlee tonight,” Jason Kidd joked before the game.
17 PTS, 7-15 FG, 2-6 3PT, 1-2 FT, 5 AST, 3 REB, 2 BLK
It’s almost cruel that his entire game will likely be distilled to just his last-second heroics in the first overtime, because Bogdanovic put together a fantastic all-around game. Even the last Bucks possession of the first overtime, when Antetokounpo scored a big shot over him, Bogdanovic played great defense — it just didn’t work.
Confidence never wavers — swatted shots like a big man, curled around screens and got inside for some pretty floaters and short jumpers in the first half. He’s possibly earning a starting spot, or at least starter’s minutes, with his recent performance.