Nets Hold On in Thriller Against Bucks, Extend Win Streak to Four


Final: 01/18/2021

W 125 123

Who’s ready for a seven-game series of Nets vs. Bucks? 

A battle of Eastern Conference talent lived up to the hype as the Nets took down the Bucks, 125-123, in a thriller at Barclays Center. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day result ends Milwaukee’s four-game win streak and extends the Nets’ win streak to four. 

The matchup against the Bucks was a good test to see how the Nets can contend against top talent in the NBA, and the immediate returns are promising — even without Kyrie Irving. The game came down to the wire, but a missed three-pointer by Khris Middleton secured the victory for Brooklyn as Kevin Durant hit the late dagger.

The Nets led by as many as 11 points, but the high-scoring contest was close throughout and became anyone’s game down the stretch. The Nets were efficient from the field throughout the game, shooting 54.8% and 15-of-31 from three. Meanwhile, the Bucks struggled with 43.8% shooting, including 11-of-37 from three.

Brooklyn received big boosts from both Joe Harris and Jeff Green, who combined to shoot 9-of-12 from three. James Harden was also big down the stretch with a 34-point, 12-assist double-double.

Wins like Monday’s put into perspective just how much firepower Brooklyn has. Harden was 3-of-10 from three, but players like Durant and Harris are there to pick up the slack. DeAndre Jordan also had a big game with a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double.

The Bucks in part were able to remain competitive due to their offensive rebounding and points off turnovers. Milwaukee scored 18 points off Brooklyn’s 17 giveaways, but the Nets were able to take better care of the ball in the second half, turning it over just five times.

Still, the Nets were able to hold off Milwaukee on the boards, out-rebounding the Bucks 55-49 and limiting them to 50 points in the paint. Brooklyn’s bench was once again quiet offensively, totaling just 15 points, but it did enough to keep the Nets afloat while Durant or Harden rested. 

The Nets seemed to answer what has been an overwhelming question after Harden’s arrival: Can they share the ball? The balanced offensive possessions between the starting lineup flowed almost naturally, with Harden and Durant taking turns down the stretch — with some Harris thrown in.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for Milwaukee with 34 points and 12 rebounds, while Middleton added 25 points. 

Brooklyn is not at full strength and has not been able to practice much — but the team was still able to answer Milwaukee’s punches and hold on for the victory. Having players of Harden and Durant’s caliber is a luxury, and the rest of the team is benefitting from the attention they receive. 

Add in Irving’s potential return on Wednesday, and the ceiling grows higher. 

James Harden


The stats: 34 PTS, 13-25 FG, 3-10 3PT, 5-6 FT, 6 REB, 12 AST, 1 BLK, 6 TO, 41 MIN

It seems like 30-point games are going to be a common occurrence from James Harden.

Harden was one of four players that scored 11 points in the first half but truly came alive with 23 points in the second half. He also took better care of the ball as the game went along, recording zero turnovers in the second half after six in the first two quarters. 

There are moments where it is obvious that Harden and his new teammates are not used to each other yet with missed lobs and connections, but the Beard has shown that he is capable of getting his points in while letting others shine. That was on display on Monday, especially as Harden and Durant closed out the game.

Kevin Durant


The stats: 30 PTS, 10-21 FG, 2-4 3PT, 8-9 FT, 9 REB, 6 AST, 2 BLK, 3 TO, 36 MIN

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Kevin Durant looks like pre-injury Kevin Durant, and maybe even better. 

It is just fun watching KD go to work on offense, and he drained a three when the Nets needed one to clinch despite a quiet night from distance prior. Not to mention he added a big help on the boards and largely took care of the ball after racking up turnovers last game.

For those keeping track, this was KD’s 10th straight game with at least 25 points. The Eastern Conference Player of the Week just keeps getting better. 

Joe Harris


The stats: 20 PTS, 7-12 FG, 5-7 3PT, 1-2 FT, 6 REB, 1 AST, 37 MIN

Joe Harris is just a breath of fresh air every time he shoots the ball.

Joe is earning every penny of his new contract, with his worth growing larger alongside Harden and Durant. Joe has been more open than ever, and his teammates are doing a great job at getting him the ball. 

Even with five three-pointers, Joe probably had even more in him if he got more looks. But alongside Harden and Durant, Joe is providing the perfect complement — and his 20 points and six boards were big as the Nets’ bench was again quiet. 

Jeff Green


The stats: 14 PTS, 5-6 FG, 4-5 3PT, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 37 MIN

Most sneaky acquisition of the offseason? That title belongs to Jeff Green.

Green has been a consistent presence for the Nets, knocking down big shots while helping out on the boards. He had most of his points in the first half, but Green was ready to make the Bucks pay whenever he had the chance.

If he keeps up this offensive threat, Green will continue to bring the Nets to another level — even if he comes off the bench once Irving returns. 

DeAndre Jordan


The stats: 12 PTS, 6-6 FG, 12 REB, 3 AST, 2 BLK, 5 TO, 38 MIN

DeAndre Jordan came to play against Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Jordan looked great in his matchup, protecting the paint and grabbing key rebounds. His four offensive rebounds were especially big as the Bucks had 11 of their own.

The Nets’ success largely relies on how Jordan can adapt and protect the paint in Brooklyn’s new lineup. So far, he has shown he can be active both defensively and in play-making while complementing the shooters surrounding him.