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Nets struggle in 3rd quarter (again) and lose, 111-93, to Milwaukee

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — They tried. And they tried. And they tried. But no satisfaction for the Nets, who were looking for their first win streak of the season Thursday night at Barclays Center.

They were close… for a half.

With Bill Clinton looking on courtside, the Milwaukee Bucks (9-8) halted the Brooklyn Nets (5-13) momentum with a 111-93 victory at Barclays Center. The Nets and Bucks played the first game of a home and home with the next matchup coming in Milwaukee on Saturday.

The Nets were coming off an inspired comeback double OT win against the Clippers on Tuesday, and they looked to ride the wave into Thursday.

Unfortunately, they crashed.

The first half was back and forth as both teams failed to pull away. Brook Lopez was struggling with five points on 2-of-8 shooting, and Giannis Antetokounmpo was relatively quiet with 12 points (yes, that’s quiet for him). It was a fast-paced game, but that was about it.

Bucks led 52-51 at half.

And then suddenly no surprise, the third quarter Nets arrived. Also no surprise, so did Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks went on a 14-2 run and extended their small lead of one up to 13. They scored 38 points in the quarter on 12-of-19 shooting, including 11-third quarter points from Antetokounmpo. Once again it wasn’t Brooklyn’s offense that struggled, rather their defense.

Brooklyn cut it down to 11, but Milwaukee answered with two 3-pointers. Down 17 with five minutes left: Game. Set. Match.

"I think our offense got really stagnant," Kenny Atkinson said after the loss. "I thought their switching was a factor, and they did a good job in the pick and roll, switching a lot and their bigs can guard small guys with their length and athleticism."

The Nets shot 38 percent from the field, including 12-of-40 from 3-point.

"Sometimes we get happy shooting from the perimeter," Trevor Booker said. "I think when we drive the ball a little more, we will get open perimeter shots instead of contested ones."

They also had 20 assists and 18 turnovers. Ugh. Brook Lopez hardly led the team with 15 points, while Tuesday’s hero Sean Kilpatrick chipped in 14 and six turnovers.

As for Milwaukee, they nailed an efficient 15 3-pointers on 34 attempts from beyond the arc. Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 30 minutes. He even hit two 3-pointers. Jabari Parker also added 22 points.

Last game was a lot of fun. This one? Not so much. The Nets looked outmatched in the second half yet again and it led to another loss at home (4-6). The silver lining? Hopefully Caris LeVert returns soon along with Jeremy Lin.

MARKS MAKIN’ MOVES:

Donatas Motiejunas, the seven-foot Rockets big man, and his agent, B.J. Armstrong made it clear they either wanted a big deal from Houston or the freedom to find work elsewhere. Now, it appears they will get their wish, and Brooklyn could be that destination for the restricted free agent.

The Nets and Motiejunas are awaiting for word from Houston to see whether they plan on matching the offer. This is Sean Marks’ third offer to a restricted free agent. This is his way of trying to lure young talent away from other teams with respectable offer sheets. Houston will have three days to make a decision... once the offer sheet is signed.

For post game audio, click here.