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Nets fight in the 2nd half, but come up short in Milwaukee: 112-103

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

The Bucks and Nets played each other Thursday in Brooklyn, so why not play another in Milwaukee?

The Brooklyn Nets (5-14), who lost to the Milwaukee Bucks (10-8) by 18 on Thursday, fell for a second straight game, 112-103, Saturday in Milwaukee. The loss came behind a faulty offensive effort, notably a 3-for-17 shooting night from Brook Lopez.

The Nets have lost nine of their last 10 games.

Usually I’d write ‘same old script for the Nets’ but this game was very different. The Nets usually play well in first half and then fall apart in the third quarter. Instead, they looked out of whack from the start, but turned it around in the third quarter. You read that correct. They played well in the third!

The twist of the first half: defense wasn’t too bad. Offense was very bad.

It started with the leader, Brook Lopez. Lopez was hesitant to go inside the paint and seemingly hung around the perimeter a bit too much. The Bucks didn’t help by doubling him. Without a veteran point guard, creativity was lost. The big fella was 0-for-10 in the first half and scored only one point, as the Nets headed into the halftime break with a 10-point deficit.

“I know I definitely wasn’t happy with the way I played,” said Lopez, post-game. “I’m very disappointed in myself. I think I definitely affected the outcome. I let us down tonight, no question.”

The only real positive in the first half was Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 14 before the break.

As a whole, the Nets were 3-for-20 from 3-point range. They finished the game 11-of-41.

The third quarter is usually where things go south. That wasn’t the case on Saturday. The Nets actually controlled the quarter, despite falling down by as much as 16 in the minutes after halftime.

Kenny Atkinson made an adjustment, putting Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the 4 in effort to give the Nets a little bit of speed and athleticism against the lanky Bucks. It paid off, as RHJ instilled some much-needed energy into the team. He finished with a line of five points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.

The Nets cut a 16-point deficit down to three heading into the fourth quarter, winning their second third quarter of the season as they outscored Milwaukee 32-25.

Sean Kilpatrick sparked the Brooklyn offense, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the quarter. And Brook Lopez nailed his first bucket of the night, a 3-pointer in the final minute of the third.

On to the fourth quarter we went…

Joe Harris (17 points) nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give Brooklyn its first lead since the 10:23 mark of the second quarter. Lopez and the Nets were picking up steam with the big fella nailing two more 3-pointers later in the fourth.

Both teams exchanged leads throughout the quarter up until Milwaukee went on an 11-1 run and took a 103-95 lead. The Nets fell apart from that point on and this one was over.

Milwaukee scored 37 points in the fourth quarter, and were led by John Henson (20 points) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks & 2 steals).

Bogdanovic was game high with 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Credit to him. He kept this thing from getting really out of hand in the first half.

Anthony Bennett started in place of Trevor Booker and scored seven points while grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds. With the frontcourt (potentially) getting deeper, Bennett was given a chance to prove his worth to the team.

After the game, Atkinson volunteered that he thought his performance was “important in his development.”

He also commented on the Nets’ recurring, if different, problems.

“We looked at it. It seems like it’s a different theme every game,’’ Atkinson said. “Last game it was turnovers and putting the other team on the free throw line. Some games it’s our transition defense. We’re kind of plugging holes there. You could see us mixing the lineups a little in the third quarter, middle of the third quarter. A work in progress, and a place we need to get better.”

Other than Harris, Brooklyn’s bench struggled to score the rock. Harris scored seven points, while the rest chipped in just 17. Justin Hamilton put up a zero spot on 0-of-6 shooting and looked out-of-sorts.


  • Brook Lopez had a team-high six assists, while starting point guard Isaiah Whitehead finished with zero.
  • Brook Lopez grabbed only four rebounds compared to 14 from Anthony Bennett and nine from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
  • Brook Lopez (3-of-17) converted his first bucket 35 minutes into the game (!)
  • Sean Kilpatrick scored 12 of his 19 points at the free throw line. He was 3-of-13 on the night. It’s the most made foul shots since Paul Pierce in 2013-14.

Next up: Monday vs. the Washington Wizards