Giannis, Bucks Outshine Nets in Season Opener


Final: 10/19/2021

L 104 127

The Nets will have to wait a bit longer for revenge.

In a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bucks picked up where they left off with a 127-104 victory over Brooklyn. It was a game Milwaukee led nearly wire-to-wire as the team flashed its championship-winning chemistry.

The overreactions will be plentiful after one game, but the Bucks flat-out looked good. Milwaukee led by as many as 23 points with a balanced contribution of six players scoring in double figures

The Nets, meanwhile, did not have the luxury of offensive depth. Kevin Durant and James Harden made up for 52 of Brooklyn’s 104 points, while Patty Mills accounted for all but four of the team’s bench points. 

Durant and Harden did help the Nets stay within striking distance at times, including a strong second quarter that cut the deficit to just five. But the Bucks out-scored Brooklyn 61-45 in the second half to keep the upper hand. 

Mills was one of the positives of the night for Brooklyn as he shot a perfect 7-of-7 from beyond the arc. He was an early and reliable source of offense when the Nets fell behind quickly in the first quarter.

Steve Nash stuck with a 10-man rotation through the majority of the night, leaving a notable omission of Bruce Brown on the bench. Maybe adjustments will be made, but it was odd to see Brown only get garbage minutes. 

Sloppiness struck the Nets with the Bucks scoring 22 points off Brooklyn’s 12 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Bucks turned it over just seven times while showing more hustle and grit. 

It was a lackluster debut for Brooklyn. Durant and Harden played to expectations, and Mills proved himself to be a top acquisition, but the rest of the roster largely fell flat. 

Again, it’s too early for any large takeaways, but the Nets got a wake-up call with the first taste of their top Eastern competition. Let’s see how they match up with another top Eastern competitor in the Sixers on Friday. 

Kevin Durant


The stats: 32 PTS, 13-25 FG, 3-7 3PT, 3-6 FT, 11 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 30 MIN

KD looked his usual dominant self, besides the missed free throws.

The Nets would not have had opportunities to threaten the Bucks’ lead if not for KD, who had his midrange going to keep the Nets in business. Though it was not his best shooting night overall, his defensive effort showed through on the boards and blocked shots. 

We know KD will do his thing, the next task is getting contributions elsewhere. Still, we are thankful to watch KD do what he does best once again. 

Patty Mills


The stats: 21 PTS, 7-11 FG, 7-7 3PT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 29 MIN

It couldn’t have been much better of a Nets debut for Patty Mills.

He fit right in coming off the bench, staying ready from beyond the arc for a perfect night from distance. He hit three three-pointers in the first quarter and was lethal throughout the night.

If only the Nets could clone Patty to add to the offense. In any case, Patty already started to make his case for Sixth Man of the Year.

James Harden


The stats: 20 PTS, 6-16 FG, 3-8 3PT, 4-4 FT, 8 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 4 TO, 31 MIN

James nearly notched up a triple-double but struggled a bit to take care of the ball.

After a largely unselfish first season in Brooklyn, Harden made sure to keep his teammates involved — particularly Patty Mills. But he also had difficulty making a connection with Claxton in the paint, with a look of relief on his face when they finally connected on a lob.

That chemistry will come in time, as will the shooting. It’s just good to have Harden on two healthy legs again.

Nicolas Claxton


The stats: 12 PTS, 6-9 FG, 0-3 FT, 7 REB, 24 MIN

Nic Claxton got the start at center, but he had quite the tough assignment.

Clax spent time against Brook Lopez and Giannis throughout the night, and you can guess who won the majority of those matchups. But he did manage to nearly grab a double-double despite the circumstances.

One area the Nets will need Clax to improve in is on the offensive glass. He did not win any of those matchups, but the Nets are going to need as many second chances as possible going forward.

Joe Harris


The stats: 9 PTS, 3-9 FG, 3-5 3PT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO, 31 MIN

There’s something about the Bucks that makes Joe a bit more hesitant than usual.

Yes, he’s covered closely, but it would still be great to see Joe be more aggressive. He was solid from distance but looked to pass when driving to the rim rather than taking it himself.

Joe knows he has something to prove after last season. We know Joe can be aggressive, he just has to take care of the ball more — and crack the code against the Bucks.