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Blowout averted but Bucks’ athleticism too much for Nets

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

We have seen the movie before. And although there were some good performances and a little bit of drama in the third act, the ending was the same. The Nets lost their sixth game in the last seven and their tenth straight game, 109-94.

The Bucks may have won, but they had some scary moments, with Michael Delladevoda and Giannis Antetokounmpo going down and leaving the game. Still, their big post-Jason Kidd success continued under Joe Prunty. They’ve now won six of their last seven.

For the Nets, Caris LeVert and DeMarre Carroll led the way with 15 points each. Carroll made his points early, LeVert late, shooting 6-of-7 but didn’t take a three. Jarrett Allen had another good game, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven boards. It was his seventh straight double-figure scoring game,

Eric Bledsoe led Milwaukee with 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 3-of-8 from deep. It seemed effortless. And there was no shortage of supporting players. Antetokounmpo finished with 16, eight and two, down from his performance last month when he tallied 41, 13 and seven. Whatever slack he left, John Henson picked it up. He had a monster game, 19 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks.

If there was a message by game’s end, it was that Milwaukee is far more athletic and not just among the starters. In addition to Bledsoe, Antetokounmpo and Henson, the Bucks got big contributions from Khris Middleton who finished with 16 and four; Thon Maker with eight and six; and Jabari Parker, two games back from his second ACL and a year’s recovery, 11 points in 17 minutes.

Milwaukee led from the opening tap and by the end of the first, one of the Nets worst, the Bucks were up 36-22 and nothing was going right for Brooklyn. The Nets looked sloppy and Kenny Atkinson even took Spencer Dinwiddie out early, offering him some full-throated criticism as he sat.

The lead ballooned to 60-35 on Bledsoe’s layup late in the second and Milwaukee led 62-41 at the half. It got worse. The Bucks opened the third quarter with seven straight as the lead peaked at 69-41, a 28 point disparity. The Nets, led by their bench slowly came back, pushed the Bucks and by the end of the third, were only 11 down.

At the 8:48 mark in the fourth, it looked like another Nets comeback was underway. The Nets got the Bucks lead down to seven on a long three by Dinwiddie, but that was it. Milwaukee scored eight straight and the game was over.

RUSSELL REHAB REPORT

D’Angelo Russell played 18 minutes, scoring only three points on 1-of-8 and fouled out for the second time in his career. He did hand out seven assists, mostly in the team’s comeback effort.

All in all, a big disappointment. Post game, Atkinson (again) lamented the slow start and said his team was simply not ready, mentally or physically.

The Nets go from the frying pan into the fire Tuesday when they host the Houston Rockets and James Harden.

For a different perspective, head on over to Brew Hoop.