The Brooklyn Nets travel tonight to Milwaukee to face the only team perhaps more broken than them in the Eastern Conference: the 4-15 Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks enter tonight with the league’s worst offense, and their best player (Larry Sanders) sidelined after undergoing surgery on his right thumb. They’re led instead by guard O.J. Mayo, who’s averaging 14.9 points in 31.4 minutes per game on 41.3 percent shooting.
The Bucks are one of the league’s worst teams at converting high-percentage shots. They’re shooting 55.1 percent on shots in the restricted area, second-worst in the NBA, and have shot the second-fewest corner three-point attempts in the league. Mayo is front and center there: the team’s leading scorer has shot a putrid 45.6 percent from within five feet, well below the league average.
But it’s not the inside the Nets should worry about, particularly given their poor perimeter defense as of late. The Bucks have three rotation players (Khris Middleton, Mayo, Gary Neal) shooting over 40 percent from three-point range,
They also employ rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his giant hands:
It’s been a difficult road as of late for these Brooklyn Nets, who fell to 5-14 after a crushing 113-83 loss to their cross-borough rival New York Knicks in their home building. Chants of “Garnett Sucks!” and “Let’s Go Knicks!” peppered throughout the building, and when PA announcer David Diamante implored the crowd to stand up, he was met with a chorus of boos from the split crowd.
The Knicks loss was the second straight for Brooklyn, their sixth straight at home, and their ninth in the last eleven games. They’ll be without Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry once again. Their lineup is depleted, their offense lacks identity, and their defense is broken. The Nets are hurtling towards rock bottom faster than gravity allows.
But the Milwaukee Bucks, on the second half of a back-to-back following an overtime game, may be just the medicine for their struggles.