It went from bad to worse in Brooklyn last night.
In front of thousands of jubilant and amped Lakers faithful in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Nets (0-6) failed to notch their first win, losing 104-98 to the, uh, visiting road team. After a somewhat dominant first quarter, the Nets failed to knock down shots consistently and allowed the Lakers to take over the game at the free throw line. The Lakers more than doubled the Nets’ output from the line, compiling 31-of-40 free throw attempts compared to just 15-of-20.
Despite falling behind in double digits earlier in the fourth quarter, the Nets still had a chance to salvage a win after Jarrett Jack stole the ball in the final minute. Alas, the other shoe dropped as the Nets were subsequently called for a five-second violation during the ensuing inbound. It was a fitting end to an unusual night at Barclays Center.
Tonight, the Nets begin a four-game road trip in Milwaukee, where the crowd noise should be more predictable than the cheers heard last night at home. It will be the second time the Nets face the Bucks this week, after losing at home 103-96 on Monday. Behind 26 points from Jerryd Bayless and Greg Monroe’s 23-point, 12-rebound performance, the Bucks (3-3) pulled away in the fourth quarter with little resistance from the Nets defense. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 18 points.
Jason Kidd’s Bucks also flew in from New York City last night, after winning their third straight game over the Knicks at the Garden, 99-92. Playing without starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams (sprained left ankle), the Bucks got 48 points from their bench, including 22 from John Henson. Giannis Antetokounmpo, off to a flying start this season, poured in 20 points along with seven rebounds. The “Greek Freak” has averaged 21 points per game while shooting a scorching 58.2 from the field.
The Nets will once again try to get their perimeter game going after another poor showing last night. Despite a combined 40 points, Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson shot 2-for-11 from three point range and the Nets as team shot just 3-for-19 (15.8 percent). For the season, the Nets stand at 22.7 percent from behind the arc, last in the league.
What to watch for: Jarrett Jack’s decision-making. Last night, Jack took 22 shots (some ill-advised) and dished out 12 assists in 37 minutes. The Nets need his offense tonight along with some cautious ball handling against the long and lengthy Bucks defenders who are known for obstructing passing lanes and disturbing offensive rhythm. Jack coughed up five turnovers against the Bucks earlier in the week, but Carter-Williams’ absence from tonight’s lineup could ease the burden on Jack’s ability to navigate.
Tip-off: 8:30 EDT from BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI.