Can they do it?
That’s the question I asked myself as the Nets inched closer to tie the game as the second half carried on. A 26-point deficit turned into 23, then 15, then 13, then nine.
A third quarter where Brooklyn’s bench stepped up was what gave the team a shot. In a game where Giannis Antetokounmpo looked unstoppable (he finished with 41 points after scoring 24 in the first half), the Nets outscored the Bucks 37-23 in the third quarter, holding the Greek Freak to just two points.
To put that in perspective, the Nets scored a total of 35 points through the first two quarters after the Bucks started the game on a 16-2 run.
Joe Harris got the ball rolling by hitting some threes, leading the Nets in a 10-0 run out of halftime. His 3-of-4 performance from three put him in third-place in three-pointers off the bench in Nets history, putting him behind Mirza “Fearza” Teletovic’s record of 200.
Once Harris started to cool down, the rust started to fly off D’Angelo Russell. He made one deep three, and then he drained one from deeper. He had 10 straight points to bring the Nets within single-digits. The confidence he had in his shot was a big step up from past games.
While the deficit hovered around 10 points for the rest of the game, the Nets could not break through, with the Bucks finishing the win with a final score of 116-91. The Bucks almost always had an answer, and a double-double from the Greek Freak is hard to top.
The Nets got sloppier at the end of the game to allow Milwaukee to finish on a high note. A valiant effort from the Nets who attempted the impossible, but it was Antetokounmpo’s night. Milwaukee ended up getting its 26-point lead back at the end, and then some, after a 35-point fourth quarter.
After shooting 26 percent at the half, the Nets ended up shooting 37.1 percent from the field and 8-of-34 from three. The hero for Brooklyn was its bench, which had the 46-21 advantage. Russell started to hit his stride, so that is a good sign for the future.
Next up: the Timberwolves to cap off the back-to-back.
The stats: 12 PTS, 6-8 FG, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 20 MIN
Jarrett Allen just hits the court and does his job. He got offensive rebounds, scored in double-digits for the second straight game and, well, did his best against Antetokounmpo. Luckily for him he was not any closer than he was to Giannis on this earthquake of a dunk.
Oh my mother of Zeus Giannis Antetokounmpo just sent Jarret Allen to middle earth pic.twitter.com/sY6Bzjo2rj
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 27, 2018
It could have been worse, Jarrett, right? Maybe?
The stats: 11 PTS, 4-10 FG, 3-4 3FG, 3 REB, 3 AST, 25 MIN
Joe is pretty good at the basketball. He’s continued to be Mr. Reliable from the three-point line, and showed his playmaking abilities tonight with his three assists. At one point, he did not miss a three-pointer in over eight attempts spanning to last game where he went 5-of-5. Still, he’s not afraid to finish at the rim either.
We can sum it up this way:
Joe Harris is really good.
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) January 27, 2018
The stats: 14 PTS, 6-14, 2-5 3FG, 1 REB, 7 TOV, 21 MIN
Overall, not Russell’s best game. The turnovers hurt the Nets early, but he was a big part of the run where the Nets cut it to single digits. With Spencer Dinwiddie having an off night, Russell’s production was a welcomed sight. His minutes are going up, and the offensive production was encouraging to see.
The stats: 13 PTS, 4-10 FG, 1-5 3FG, 4-5 FT, 4 REB, 2 AST, 2 TOV, 25 MIN
Allen Crabbe was the only Net who could make a shot when the Bucks held no mercy early. With almost all his teammates putting up 0-fers, Crabbe gave the Nets a bit of life to keep them moving against the Bucks. For that, Crabbe gets a pat on the back.