Kyrie Irving leads Nets to clutch-time win over Milwaukee Bucks

Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Wesley Matthews in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets held on in Milwaukee to defeat the Bucks 126-123 for a huge win. It was a back and forth game with both teams holding double-digit leads at one point. Let’s hope this can be a turning point in what has been a tough season so far.

NBA analyst Mark Jackson said following the game, “what a great win for the Nets, this could propel them forwards.”

The Nets started off slow with the starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Bruce Brown, James Johnson, and Andre Drummond. The biggest problem early was spacing for Irving and Curry, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton were playing a safety-like position on Brown and Johnson.

Fortunately for the Nets, Brown was able to knock down several threes, going 3-for-5, to force the defense off of him. He would have another strong performance overall, putting up 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and was a +18 in 32 minutes.

The Net’s victory was fueled by a huge third quarter where they to scored 43 points, which were the most they have scored in any quarter this season. In that dominant 12 minutes, they hit eight three-point shots after only knocking down three in the entire first half.

After outscoring the Bucks 43-34 in the 3rd the Nets entered the 4th quarter with a 96-93 lead.

The fourth started off rough for the Nets, who would only score seven points in the first six and a half minutes, before going on an 8-0 run to take a 113-112 lead off a clutch Irving three with roughly three minutes left in the game.

The Nets ultimately hung on to get the victory 126-123 after an Antetokounmpo three clanked off the rim at the buzzer. A majority of the clutch time came down to free-throw shooting as the Nets decided to intentionally foul on multiple possessions to prevent the Bucks from getting off a game-tying three. In the 4th quarter, the Nets shot 16-21 from the free-throw line, while the Bucks were 11-19.

Notable Performances

Kyrie Irving led the charge for the Nets as he scored a season-high 38 points while hitting clutch free throw after clutch free throw down the stretch. Irving hit a number of difficult shots as he was harassed all night by Jrue Holiday. Besides the 38 points, Irving would finish with 5 rebounds and assists, while going 14-of-26 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the foul line.

When asked by Lisa Salters how Irving was able to not play for two weeks then come back and score 38 points against the Bucks he credited his teammates, saying “the collection of guys we have in the locker room. They keep me in shape.”

Following the victory, Steve Nash would said, “Kyrie was amazing. Incredible shot-making and a big force of our offense.”

Drummond proved once again he is going to be a huge addition to the Nets when playing against bigger teams. He finished the game with 17 points, 2 steals, 1 block, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and was a +20 in 29 minutes. Besides stuffing the stat sheet, he had a huge offensive rebound and putback late in the game, followed by a late block on Giannis down the stretch.

Don’t forget his massive poster on Antetokounmpo.

Seth Curry was tremendous playing in his first game alongside Irving since 2010-2011 when they played one season at Duke University. Curry would go 6-of-11 from the field, 4-of-8 from three while contributing 19 points, 3 assists, and was a +17 in 29 minutes.

Goran Dragic made an immediate impact for the Nets knocking down a three on the left wing within his first minute of action. He would finish with 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 14 minutes of action. Nash called Dragic’s debut “great.”