Nets take on Kidd-less Bucks to kick off back-to-back

Photo courtesy YES Network

Time: 8 p.m. EST

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center

Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO

Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM

Photo courtesy YES Network

The Brooklyn Nets are spending Friday night in Milwaukee to play the now-Jason-Kidd-less Bucks. Milwaukee is clinging to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and clearly is not happy with its season thus far.

Unfortunately for the Nets, All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to return to action after missing two games with a minor knee injury. Interim coach Joe Prunty will lead the Bucks in the short-term, and he may be familiar to Nets fans as an assistant coach in Kidd’s stint coaching the Brooklyn Nets, officially coaching the team for two games at the start of the 2013-14 regular season (he went 1-1). 

In Nets news, the team is still chasing the elusive three-game winning streak, after losing a one-point thriller on Tuesday to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Six Nets scored in double figures, but Russell Westbrook’s winning drive, along with his 32 points and Paul George’s 28, helped the Thunder close it out. 

Brooklyn’s game in Milwaukee is the third of a five-game road trip for the Nets and the first of a back-to-back set. Currently holding a 1-1 record on the trip, the Nets may take advantage of opportunity in Milwaukee to improve to 2-1. 

Three things to watch

D’Angelo Russell

The ‘re-loading’ of D’Angelo Russell’s return has been somewhat anti-climactic as he is slowly re-integrated into the Nets’ rotation. Playing 15 minutes in his third game back, it will be interesting to see how he is utilized in back-to-back games.

It would not be a surprise if Russell gets one of the games off, but the expectation is that if he is a green light for Friday and will possibly see increased minutes and have a greater impact on the game. 

Khris Middleton

In the absence of Antetokounmpo, Middleton has been the go-to player to pick up the slack. In the first game Antetokounmpo missed Middleton put up a triple-double, and in the next game, he had 35 points.

With the Bucks floor general ‘Alphabet’ (which might be a better nickname than the ‘Greek Freak’) expected to return, the Nets cannot sleep on Middleton and his ability to get buckets, as offensively-minded players have dined on the Brooklyn Nets in the past.

Late-game situations

The Nets have had a lot of close games lately. With a young team that is trying to build experience in closing out games, these situations are invaluable for the team to learn and grow into future seasons.

While many of the games have not fallen the team’s way, the Nets have got their fair share and a situation like OKC earlier this week could turn into a win next time around. If Brooklyn gets into another close game in Milwaukee, they just might be prepared enough to end up with the win (looking at you, Spencer Dinwiddie).