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Giannis Antetokounmpo drops 41 as Bucks destroy Nets

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Final: Bucks 116, Nets 91

Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Buck that.

Of the last 13 games for Brooklyn, 11 have been determined by six points or less. That wasn’t the case on Friday. The Milwaukee Bucks (24-22) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (18-31), 116-91, behind a huge first half and a 41-point night from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It looked like it would be a blowout after the first half, but the Nets were persistent in the third, but fell down in the fourth.

They dug themselves in a big hole right at the beginning. They finished with their second-worst first quarter of the season with just 15 points on 5-of-23 shooting, 2-of-13 from three. They trailed by as many as 18 by the end of the quarter; 23 by half.

The Nets carved into the deficit a bit when they started the second half on a 10-0 run. They outscored Milwaukee 37-23 in the third and trailed by nine entering the fourth.

D’Angelo Russell came in and scored 10 points in the third -- eight coming in the midst of a 14-6 run to close out the quarter. He finished the night with 14 points in 21 minutes but turned the ball over seven times. He didn’t return until the 4:22 mark of the fourth and the Nets were back down double digits.

They never got it within single digits from that point on. Milwaukee outscored Brooklyn, 35-19, in the fourth.

Milwaukee’s length was a problem for the Nets all night. They failed to find open lanes and forced a ton of threes. It didn’t work. The Nets finished the night 37 percent from the field and 8-of-34 from deep. They typically struggle against teams with length.

Antetokounmpo had his way with the Nets and got whatever he wanted. He scored 24 of his 41 points in the first half to go along with 13 rebounds, 7 assists, two steals and two blocks.

Milwaukee shot 52 percent from the field and 52 percent from 3-point. Brooklyn’s offense was bad, but their defense was even worse. The Bucks also outscored the Nets by 20 inside the paint.

To make matters worse, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson left the game at the 6:24 mark of the second quarter and never returned. The Nets announced it was a right groin strain.

The Bucks played their first game since firing Jason Kidd, former player and coach with the Nets. His coaching stint with the Nets ended abruptly as he demanded more front office power. As a result, he forced his way out and the Nets “traded” him to Milwaukee. Joe Prunty, who was Kidd’s assistant in both Brooklyn and Milwaukee, was named interim coach for the rest of the season earlier in the day.

HARRIS PASSES HARRIS

Following his third 3-pointer made, Joe Harris took sole possession of third place in Nets history in 3-pointers made off the bench with 154, passing Lucious Harris who had 153. Lucious Harris played for the New Jersey Nets from 1997-2004 and was an integral piece off the bench during New Jersey’s two championship runs.

SNUBBED FROM RISING STARS?

One can make the case that Caris LeVert and/or Jarrett Allen were snubbed from this year’s Rookie-Sophomore challenge between Team World and Team U.S.A. Out of 10 players – three from the Lakers made it – Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. There are zero Nets in this year’s All-Star Weekend. LeVert and/or Allen could have been perfect candidates, but the consensus was focused elsewhere.

LeVert is averaging 12 points, four rebounds and four rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. He has emerged as one of the elite among players drafted in 2016. We anticipate him being in a bigger All-Star event on a bigger stage in the future.

For a different perspective, head on over to BrewHoop.

***

That’s two straight losses for the Nets, who now stand at 18-31 on the season. They’ll face the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow in the second night of a back-to-back.