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Nets face Bucks on Friday, without Jason Kidd

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Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

Let’s not go there ... again. The Nets lost to Oklahoma City on another last minute non-call that the NBA again said should have been a foul. A correct call and the Nets would have walked out of Chesapeake Energy Arena with a win.

Kenny Atkinson said it’s time to move on.

“I just let it go [the missed call]. Those guys do a great job, I think it’s a hard game to ref,” Atkinson explained. “I will say this. Look at ourselves in the mirror. What we could have done better to [win]. I know I could have done better.”

On to Milwaukee.

In the aftermath of Jason Kidd’s abrupt firing, it’s only fitting that the Nets are due to battle with the Bucks in Milwaukee just days afterward. It’s the first showing of the season between both clubs. Joe Prunty, a Nets assistant coach under Kidd in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, is the interim head coach.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was reportedly upset with the move, and he was injured with a sore right knee, briefly, but he’ll likely be back now, just in time for your Brooklyn Nets.

Just great, ain’t it?

Before firing Kidd earlier this week, the Bucks have been thought of as an underachieving team. Nonetheless, they’ll bring a 24-22 record in Friday night, with an undefeated 1-0 tally in the post-Kidd era, having loss five of seven before the firing and dropping into eight place in the East.

For the Nets it hasn’t been much better … or any better, but they’ve played hard, my man.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 8 PM.

Injuries

Isaiah Whitehead along with two-ways Milton Doyle and James Webb III remain with Long Island. Other than that, only Jeremy Lin will be missing.

As mentioned, Antetoko … – sigh, Giannis, is expected to return. Former friend of the program, Mirza Teletovic, is still out with a knee injury and recurring blood clots in his lungs. Jabari Parker, who was again assigned to the G League on Tuesday, is working his way back from a second torn ACL.

The game

Last year, the Nets lost all four games against the Bucks. Ironically, Sean Kilpatrick, who is now with the Milwaukee, had a collection of solid games against his now current team last season, dropping 14, 15 and 19 points, respectively, in the first three.

In that same final game, a high octane 129-125 win for the Bucks on February 15, 2017, Spencer Dinwiddie started to show the promise we’re seeing this season. He scored 19 points, distributed 8 assists, and of course, had zero turnovers.

Brook Lopez also killed the Bucks, more so than Dinwiddie, coming away with 36 points, 8 blocks and 6 three-pointers.

You may remember …

But also in that game, Antetokounmpo registered 33 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Greg Monroe and Khris Middleton combined for 45 points off the bench for good measure.

Now, as far as ‘The Greek Freak’ goes, he’s a Net killer, which should shock no one.

But after his rookie season, where he wasn’t yet impactful, he’s averaged 19.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.5 blocks in 11 games against Brooklyn. The Bucks have won 10 of them, including the last eight. He also has a triple-double against Brooklyn, which included 14 assists.

On the Nets side, we’re also still kind of waiting for that game from D’Angelo Russell.

Which one, you ask? You know, that one. The game where Russell shakes off his rust and goes off for 20, maybe 25, or even something to the effect of 15 points in 18 minutes.

He hasn’t had it yet, not even close, but he’s closer. He’s had a total of 10 points since returning, and upon his comeback he’s logged 14-15 minutes each game, clearly by design.

January 19 against Miami, Russell had an 0-fer on 5 field goal attempts and hit a free throw. At Detroit a couple days later, he took 5 shots again, hitting 1, finishing with 3 points. Last game against the Thunder, he upped it to 7 points on 2-of-6 shooting, even dropping 4 assists in the under 15 minute showing.

“Every game is getting better and better,” Russell told BrooklynNets.com “I’m trying to find my groove and figure ways how to still be me out there... It’s definitely a process.”

One of these games, he’ll truly be back. Maybe Friday, maybe not.

Player to watch: Thon Maker

Let’s get weird, y’all.

Yeah, Thon Maker has been disappointing for the Bucks this season, covered in fellow NBA SB Nation site, BrewHoop, in great detail.

But he has the type of game that has hurt this Brooklyn team all season long, an athletic big. Maker hasn’t had a solid performance since January 5. Before that, he had three straight games of double-digit points, by far his best stretch of the season.

For those not too keen on the Buck big, Maker is a slender, 7’1”, smooth shooting (or at least he’s supposed to be) potential-packed prospect who the Bucks selected 10th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Maker turns 21 next month, and Milwaukee fans had high hopes heading into this current campaign but he’s averaging only 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 39.6% from the field and 32.8% from three through 46 games this season.

Bottom line is, Maker can stretch the floor, block shots and rebound when he’s on. The Nets have struggled against such skilled bigs, and although Maker is rawer than just about all of them, would it shock you if on Friday he walked away with 16 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes, while hitting 4-of-8 from the field, 3-of-4 from three and all 5 free throws like he did against Toronto earlier this month?

Or maybe 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in 26 minutes just 4 days later against … Toronto (again!?). Against this Nets team? Not necessarily.

Or maybe I’m wrong and Maker has another 2-point, 2-rebound game … like he did vs. Miami on January 17

In any event, just pay attention, and if you’re watching, pray that the Nets don’t meet their … nevermind.

From the Vault

Joe Harris has been amazing lately, averaging 13 points over his last 7 games, shooting 63% from three during that stretch. Harris, who had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including a perfect 5-for-5 from three last timeout, went to the University of Virginia for four years; 2010-2014.

Here’s him dropping 36 points in a win over Duke, then the third highest ranked team in the country, as a junior in the 2012-2013 season, just because.

As an added bonus, here’s Harris getting an emotional sendoff during his final home game at UVA in 2014.

For better or for worst, his final game as a Net could be on the horizon. Enjoy it while it lasts.