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Nets and Bucks wrap up the first half in Brooklyn

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s halftime. It’s been a rough first half of the year for the Brooklyn Nets, and the break has come at a perfect time for them. They played on Monday night and lost again, this time to the Miami Heat. It was their 13th straight overall and 15th straight at home.

Closing out the first half will be the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s been a pretty dour season for Jason Kidd’s troops, but maybe they’re on the path to turning things around. They played the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night and beat them by 13 points.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.


Jeremy Lin will miss this game, but there's good news! He'll be returning to action on February 24. Quincy Acy is out while Trevor Booker is questionable.

Jabari Parker tore his ACL a few weeks ago and will be out of action for at least a year. Hopefully he heals up fast and will come back better than ever. New Buck Roy Hibbert has been bothered by a knee injury and will likely miss this game as well.

The game

The Bucks won the first game in October, second one in early December, and the third one a few days later. This is the last meetimg between the two teams this year.

Naturally, everybody in Milwaukee is feeling down after Parker's injury. However, there might be a silver lining here. Let Mitchell Maurer of Brew Hoop explain:

This could mean more minutes for Thon, and a higher draft pick come June. It could force the front office to make moves without prioritizing Jabari’s place on the team, which some fans believe is the best path forward anyway. It may or may not have an impact on Jason Kidd’s much-maligned offensive strategy and defensive schemes. These are things that may happen, and they may be a net-positive for the Bucks in the long run.

This weekend will be the Giannis show. Antetokounmpo has been sensational and will be starting for the Eastern Conference in this Sunday's All Star Game. He’s become the focal point of the team’s attack and has increased his field goal percentage (it’s gone up each year he’s been in the league) and shot attempts while turning the ball over at a career low rate. Having a player like him who can dunk from almost anywhere on the court combined with his height and court vision makes him incredibly hard to cover.

Brook Lopez will have the advantage on the inside tonight. Thon Maker is starting these days and has shown flashes of potential. Backing him up is the seven year vet Greg Monroe. Monroe didn’t have much success as a starter, but he has fit in nicely off the bench and is shooting 53 percent from the field. Neither Monroe or Maker have had much success defending shots close to the rim this year, so there’s an opportunity for Lopez to feast in the low post. The Nets have had issues featuring Lopez in the second halves of games, and with Lin back next week, that may change ASAP.

Player to watch: Khris Middleton

Middleton recently returned to action after being out due to a torn hamstring he suffered last season. When he’s on his game, he’s a plus defender that can also stretch the floor with his three point shooting. He’s only been back a week so look for his minutes to be in the teens this evening.

It’s been a rough go of it for Caris Levert as of late. The rookie has seemingly hit a wall and having the next week off will do wonders for him. In his last seven games played, he’s shooting 34 percent from the field, 25 percent from three point range, and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. He’s been a pleasant surprise for Brooklyn this year, and once the season resumes next week, is someone who will play a major role in how the team will approach free agency this summer.

From the Vault

Once upon a time, Ray Allen was in a Dunk Contest.

More reading: Brew Hoop