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No Bucks Given: Brooklyn Nets Squander 17-point Lead; Lose in Milwaukee 103-97

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The Nets found a new way to lose a game they had in their hands. This time it came against former coach Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks, 103-97.

The story was near identical to plenty of games we've seen this year. They scored 30 points in the first quarter on 12-of-17 FG shooting and 4-of-7 from three.

It was another hot start that proved to be just another mirage.

Speaking of mirages, how about we discuss Deron Williams. During shootaround, D-Will was announced as questionable with some sort of sickness, perhaps the reason why he shot 0-for-5 and turned the ball over four times. His flaws were obvious. Each time the Bucks attacked with a double team, Williams would toss a lazy pass down low which would likely end in disorder for the offense. It's detrimental to do so against a team with such length and speed like Milwaukee.

Hollins was also confused why Deron's been struggling.

"I have no idea. I feel bad for the kid but it's just not happening for him."

Jarrett Jack, the man who took Williams' spot in the starting lineup, finished with 26 points and eight assists on 10-of-15 shooting. Jack picked up his fourth foul at 5:37 mark of the third quarter, which forced him to check out earlier than usual. He still logged 35 minutes despite the foul trouble.

The Nets led by 17 at one point during the second quarter, but a 32-16 third quarter  advantage put Milwaukee up 11 heading into the fourth quarter. The Nets cut the lead down to six, but allowed O.J. Mayo to walk into the paint and notch an eight-point lead with 21 seconds left in the game. That was the dagger.

Milwaukee finished the game with a 14-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the anchor with 12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block. His stat-line was a perfect depiction of how the Bucks played the Nets.

Last year under Jason Kidd, the Nets were a scrappy defensive team. Tonight, Jason Kidd's Bucks forced 16 Nets' turnovers.

The Nets somehow allowed 103 points despite Milwaukee's 41.6% shooting from the field. Brooklyn scored 97, but shot an impressive 50% from the field and 36% from three. Again, Milwaukee's offensive boards did them in. The Bucks also shot 22-for-25 from the free throw line.

Joe Johnson had a good night with 16 points and six rebounds on 8-of-16 shooting. Mason Plumlee went for 13 and eight while Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 13 points off the bench.

Jared Dudley led all Bucks' scorers with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Brooklyn had no answer for him. Khris Middleton finished with 18 and Mayo with 15 off the bench. Coach Kidd has this Bucks team in sixth place with a 30-23 record.

The Nets are now 21-30 and stand in the ninth slot in the Eastern Conference. They've lost two straight and travel to Tennessee to play Lionel Hollins' former team, a Grizzlies squad that ranks second in the tough Western Conference. It's the last game before the much needed All-Star break.

If you're looking for optimism, reach deep and you'll see that the trade deadline is just 10 days away. But then again...

“Who said we were going to trade? “ Hollins asked Monday night. “We’ve got the offseason. This is a process that’s moving well forward … [it’s] not shortsighted, but longsighted.

“I’m not thinking about the trade deadline. I’m thinking about how we go for the last 30 games after the All-Star break and see where we are and where we need to go.”

"I can’t comment on what Billy is trying to do," Hollins added at one point. "All I’m saying is we’re trying to build consistency as a group.

"If we can stay healthy and have some continuity, we’ll be able to have a better view of where we can be and what our needs really are. But when you have guys in and out of the lineup with injuries and you’re not playing very well, it’s hard to justify doing anything."

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... The Nets hit on five of their first six shots attempted and set the bar for the rest of the quarter. Everything they threw at the hoop seemed to go in. They finished the quarter with a 30-24 lead on 70.4% FG shooting and 4-of-7 from three, one more than they hit all of Saturday night vs. the New York Knicks. Brooklyn's JJ's were the major factors with Jarrett Jack scoring 10 points and Joe Johnson seven.

Second quarter ... Lionel Hollins decided to go small and play Bojan Bogdanovic at the four to start the second quarter. The decision paid off. The Nets went on an 11-0 run and built their lead up to 41-24, but the usual 'start-hot-get-stale' style came into effect. Milwaukee answered with a 12-2 run to pull back within seven late in the quarter. Jared Dudley was the anchor of the run and Bucks' leading scorer with 12 points in the half. For Brooklyn, Joe Johnson led with 12 points as well.

The Nets shot 58.8% from the field (43% three pt.) while Milwaukee shot 33.3% from the field, but grabbed 10 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's one. It should've been a much bigger lead, but at this point, they'll take what they can get.

The score at the half: Nets 52, Bucks 47.

Third quarter ... Talk about a depressing quarter. The Bucks went on a 10-2 run to start the third, gained the lead, and never looked back. They outscored the Nets 32-16 despite shooting just 40% from the field. Jarrett Jack picked up his fourth foul at the 5:38 mark, which opened up time for Deron Williams. Even that didn't go well. He finished the quarter with zero points and four turnovers and looked extremely uncomfortable throughout.

The Bucks led 79-68 heading into the fourth. A 17-point Nets' lead turned into an 11-point deficit.

Fourth quarter ... They cut the lead down six, but allowed OJ Mayo to freely walk into the paint and notch an eight-point lead with 21 seconds left in the game. That was the dagger. They never got the stops nor the offensive spark they so longed for.

Final score: Bucks 103, Nets 97.

For more on the Milwaukee Bucks, check them out at Brew Hoop.