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Henson’s tip-in hurts, breaks but doesn’t negate Brooklyn’s heart: 110-108

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

This one hurt.

If the Nets have an identity through three games, it’s that they fight until the very end under head coach Kenny Atkinson.

And this one against a talented Milwaukee team, came down to the final seconds.

The Nets faced an 11-point deficit in the third quarter, but battled back as they have in the previous two games: a 5-point loss in Boston and a 9-point win against the Pacers.

They’re the highest scoring 4th quarter team in the NBA thus far.

In yet another “comeback” performance, the Nets tied the game with a 6-0 run in the last minute of play. Up until John Henson snapped the mini run.

With 11 seconds left on the clock, Bojan Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 118 apiece. Atkinson says he put his best defender (Trevor Booker on Jabari Parker).

Parker let the clock wind down until he isolated to the hole. He was contested well enough to miss the layup, but John Henson tipped in the rebound as time expired.

They dropped to 1-2 on the season and lost by a final score of 110-108. The late rally was snapped, despite outscoring Milwaukee 35-15 in the fourth.

It was a sore in the heart for the Nets, who played the game without its star, Brook Lopez. It was also a sore in the heart for Bojan Bogdanovic, who played like his olympic self in a spirited offensive attack. He kept the Nets alive with 26 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.

Trevor Booker also asserted himself as a force with 14 points and 14 rebounds, his second consecutive game with a double double. Other than those two, the Nets starters struggled with Milwaukee’s length.

Shots are constantly contested, passing lanes always risky. The Nets shot 11-of-35 from 3-point and committed 18 turnovers.

Sean Kilpatrick came off the bench and scored 15 important points in 24 minutes — his third consecutive game in double figures. Luis Scola also chipped in 14, while Anthony Bennett made his Brooklyn Nets debut and scored nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Jeremy Lin finished with 12 points and 10 assists, but had a poor shooting night (4-for-16 and 4 turnovers).

The first back to back may have played a role in Lin and the rest of the team’s poor shooting. The same reason the didn’t have Brook Lopez.

Think of watching an episode or movie where the main character sees what life would be without them. That’s how it felt tonight for the Nets without Lopez.

The organization made the decision to rest him. Sean Marks is from the Spurs tree where resting stars in the norm.

Kenny Atkinson said nothing was set in stone about Lopez’s availability in future back-to-back’s.

“This doesn’t mean he won’t play back-to-backs for the rest of the year. We take each back-to-back, take each portion of the schedule and look at it and do what’s best for him and best for the team,’’ Atkinson said beforehand. “We’re all on board with this. He’s on board, I’m on board, the performance team, everybody.”

He was missed.

“We know what Brook means for us on this team,” said Bogdanovic. “He’s maybe the only one we can give the ball on the low post. He averaged 20 points the last couple of seasons, so, he’s our best player and we missed him a lot tonight.

“But on the other hand, we did a great job without him, especially on a back-to-back when many guys are tired. We played great defense tonight, and the last play was good defense. Justin helped block his shot. It was good.”

Despite the result, it was another gritty finish for the Nets. Expectations are low but this team is fighting and putting a scare into teams. One can argue they can be 2-1 against three tough teams.

Isaiah Whitehead scores first points as a Net

After looking like his surgically repaired ankle was bothering him, slowly him down, Greivis Vasquez left the game at halftime. That opened the door for Isaiah Whitehead - the only other point guard on the roster aside from Jeremy Lin and the injured Randy Foye. Whitehead provided some solid energy and an important steal and bucket in the third quarter, but committed two crucial turnovers in the fourth.

Next up: Back to Brooklyn on Monday to face Chicago.