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Brooklyn’s big fourth stuns Bucks in Milwaukee, 119-111

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The problem for this young Nets team has always been finishing the game. Hence the poor record. But they made it happen against the playoff-bound Bucks, Thursday, beating Milwaukee, 119-111. It was Brooklyn’s 49th close game defined by being within five points in the final five minutes.

The teams were tied at 105 apiece with three minutes left when Allen Crabbe stepped up and hit two 3-pointers in a row to put Brooklyn up six with 1:18 left. It proved to be the dagger, as Crabbe, reportedly a bit under the weather, finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five 3-pointers.

In fact, the Nets finished the game on a 19-8 run after trailing by three points with three minutes left. They answered Milwaukee’s 36-point third quarter with a 36-point fourth quarter of their own.

Crabbe finished it, D’Angelo Russell got it started.

As the first half came to an end, Kenny Atkinson and Russell dapped one another – a refreshing sign of approval from Atkinson and a ratification of Russell’s stellar first half. His 18 points were the one of the primary reasons Brooklyn led by seven at half.

But the (somewhat) big lead lasted about as long as the dap. Milwaukee dropped 36 points in the third quarter and cut it down to two entering the fourth. The Nets had been up by as many as 10 and made it a close one down the stretch.

Russell finished with 22 points on 56.3 percent shooting and added five assists. He turned the ball over five times as well but showed his court vision on more than one occasion.

The Nets, in fact, dished out 30 assists on 41 made field goals hitting 55 percent. They hit 19 threes – three shy of setting a new franchise record. More importantly, their defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo was crucial. He was 7-of-21 from the field in 36 minutes (minus-11). They were particularly effective at the end when Bucks coach Joe Prunty put the ball in his 6’11” all-everything but he couldn’t deliver the win.

Atkinson has said he doesn’t need Jarrett Allen to be good he needs him to be “great.” Allen didn’t score a lot on Thursday, but the Nets didn’t need points for him to be great. He grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked a career-high five shots, asserting himself as a serious rim protector throughout the night. Moreover, he made few mistakes.

NETS GET BUCKS SECOND ROUNDER

We’re not going to get into the details, but the Nets win assured they will get the Bucks second rounder this season, rather than 2020. Brooklyn received the second in the trade for Tyler Zeller back in February. At that point, it looked like the Bucks would retain the pick, but their mediocre play since then put the pick in play for this June.

As of Friday morning, the Nets have the 28th (Raptors), 41st (Lakers) and 43rd (Bucks) picks in the 2018 Draft, plus $5.1 million in cash considerations they can use to move up or add a pick or two.

BIG INJURIES

DeMarre Carroll (left hip strain), Dante Cunningham (back spasms) and Jahlil Okafor (ankle) were all out for this one. With both DC’s out, this would have given Okafor a better chance to play, but he hurt himself against Philadelphia and played through the pain.

The Nets only had two bigs taller than 6’10” Jarrett Allen and Timofey Mozgov, who played four minutes, scoring six points, hitting both field goal attempts and both free throws. It was Mozgov’s first appearance since March 11 and his first points since February 7.

DINWIDDIE TURNS 25 TOMORROW

Spener Dinwiddie will turn 25-years-old tomorrow. He is one of 11 Nets on the roster that are 25 years or younger. He sees it as him “entering his prime” as he’s pointed out on Twitter.

Earlier today, Zach Lowe put him no.1 on his “Luke Walton All-Stars” list. Lowe put together his top-10 “surprising” and “thrilling” role players in the NBA and gives Dinwiddie a whole lot of credit. Check it out, you will not regret it.

We’ve said it on Twitter and we’ll say it here: Dinwiddie will be much more appreciated after the season when people realize how much more of a disaster this season could have been if he didn’t come up so big early in the season.

RHJ PUTS ON FOR HIS CITY... CHESTER, PA

We know how proud Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is of his hometown, Chester, which has been deemed Pennsylvania’s “Most dangerous” cities. Before the game, Rondae put up an inspiring yet not surprising Instagram post on how this makes him feel. At the very least, RHJ is serving as a leader for the people in his city. In his post he says he wanted to bite his tongue on the topic. Chester needs him to keep speaking, keep inspiring.

Kudos, Rondae.

***

The Brooklyn Nets are now 26-53. Vegas set their odds at 26.5 wins before the season and with three games left, it’s going to be awfully close.

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