Nets look to go streaking on second night of back-to-back against the Bucks

(AP Photo/John Raoux)
(AP Photo/John Raoux)
(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Nets look to go streaking on second night of back-to-back against the Bucks

Opponent: Milwaukee Bucks
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Time: 8:00 EST
Watch: Yes Network/Fox Sports go
Listen: 660 AM WFAN 101.9 FM

Spirits are high for the Brooklyn Nets following their first official win under head coach Kenny Atkinson, as well as their first victory in the home opener since moving from New Jersey. On the back of a rejuvenated performance from Brook Lopez and some inhuma sharpshooting from Sean Kilpatrick, the Nets took down the Indiana Pacers 103-94. However, any desired celebration will be short-lived as the Nets immediately hopped on a plane set for Milwaukee, their first back-to-back of the season, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Along with Lopez and Kilpatrick, some stellar play out of Jeremy Lin, who flirted with a triple-double and a line of 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists, would help the Nets put the Pacers away in the fourth quarter. One thing put Nets fans at ease was an improved version of Lopez — who scored just 7 points on 1-7 shooting against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday — on the court. After mass hysteria and Twitter feeds fulls of trade proposals for Lopez, the former All-Star proved why he’s been with the Nets for his entire career, dropping 25 points on 10-18 shooting.

Key blocks from Justin Hamilton and Jeremy Lin will stand out on the highlight reel, but the Nets played a strong, physical game and held the Pacers to only 15 points in the fourth quarter and 37.8% shooting.

Looking towards the Bucks, the Nets will be certainly outgunned, particularly so without Lopez on the floor, who is resting tonight for the second game of this back-to-back. They’ll face off against their former legend and head coach, Jason Kidd, who is now in his third season with the Bucks. With lengthy athletes like Jabari Parker, John Henson, and, of course, Antetokounmpo, sloppy play will end the Nets’ night quickly as they like to hop into passing lanes and cause defensive chaos. Another player that will likely impact tonight’s matchup is Mirza Teletovic, the former Net, and he’ll look to improve on his 0-5 three-point shooting effort in Thursday’s loss against the Charlotte Hornets.

Antetokounmpo has finally tapped into some of his immense potential, averaging 31 points on 61% shooting with 9 rebounds and 5 assists, and it’ll be Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that’ll be tasked with slowing down the Greek Freak.

3 Things to Watch for in Nets-Bucks:

1. Who Plays?

Given that this is the Nets’ first back-to-back of the season, it should be very interesting to see how Atkinson deals with the rotation. How is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s health? Last we saw him, he was left slightly gimpy after an incident with Paul George in the second quarter against the Pacers. Randy Foye will miss his third-straight game, so will it Joe Harris or Bojan Bogdanovic in his stead?

After the Nets’ were so careful with Greivis Vasquez’s slow rehab all summer, it seems doubtful that the Nets will push him this hard early in the season as well. So, will Anthony Bennett make his debut? Does this mean more time for Isaiah Whitehead? Chris McCullough? Win or lose, tonight should be fun!

2.Will the third quarter struggles continue?

Thus far this season, the Nets have been outscored 64-43 in the third quarter, which is not great. If the Nets hope to compete on every night under Atkinson, they’ll all need to make a concerted effort to come out of halftime less flat and basic.

3. Where’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson?

Hollis-Jefferson vs. BOS: 5 points, 1-3 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover
Hollis-Jefferson vs. IND: 2 points, 1-5 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Hollis-Jefferson vs. WAS, 4/11/16: 14 points, 5-10 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks

Has the sophomore taken a step back or has he just been preoccupied with Jae Crowder and Paul George?