Welcome to the playoffs! Well, not quite but y'all know what I mean. The Brooklyn Nets squared off with the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday afternoon and gave us one of the best games of the regular season. Unfortunately for the Nets, they fell three points short. After this, the Nets get back on the road to continue their final road trip of the regular season.
The Milwaukee Bucks will be hosting tonight's NBA extravaganza. Read about Sunday's thriller from their perspective here. I think I speak for everyone by saying seven games between these two teams would be fun as hell. The Bucks are busy after this one as they’ll be hosting the red hot Washington Wizards here in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Where to follow the game
YES2 Network for the locals and TNT for the national market. WFAN on radio. Grab your dinner and a nice beverage as we're getting started after 7:30.
NetsDaily Clubhouse post-game tonight as well.
Nothing new for the Nets as James Harden, Spencer Dinwiddie and Chris Chiozza are out. Nicolas Claxton is off the report but it’s doubtful he’ll be out there. Mike James got a second 10-day deal so he’ll be available.
All clear for the Central Division champions who’ve had the least number of games lost to injuries of any NBA team.
Brooklyn won game one in January while the Bucks won game two on Sunday. So the game could be important for tiebreaking reasons. Going into Tuesday night, the Nets are three and a half ahead of the Bucks, one game back of the Sixers in second.
Those turnovers. Brooklyn has been doing a better job of keeping the turnovers down as of late, but they coughed it up 16 times and the Bucks got 20 points off of those turnovers. The margin for error when you go against elite competition is zero, so Brooklyn will have to clean that up if they want to win the season series tonight.
Keep working. After a rough shooting afternoon, Kyrie Irving was getting some jumpers up after the game and is a good bet to bounce back tonight. Even with the off shooting night, he managed to make positive plays throughout the night and will bounce back with his shot tonight. He’ll get to matchup with Jrue Holiday one more time. Like Irving, Holiday didn’t shoot well but helped out in a myriad of other ways and will be Mike Budenholzer’s go-to perimeter defender when the playoffs get started.
An old friend of ours proved to be a menace on the interior. Former Net and forever enemy of mascots Brook Lopez had five blocks on Sunday and helped the Bucks defense hold the Nets to only 52.6 percent shooting at the rim. Brooklyn wound up winning the rebound battle but if they’re able to cash in on their opportunities in the lane, they’ll open things up even more from three point range.
Now that we’re getting closer to the playoffs, we’re starting to see playoff rotations taking shape. Of course the Nets are missing two key players (Harden and Claxton) so we’re not getting their real deal playoff lineup yet, but for everyone else out there, it’s good to start upping the intensity and getting ready for what promises to be a dogfight come late May. The Bucks have their nine man rotation set so we’ll get another look see at them tonight.
Player to watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Where else would you start? The reigning back-to-back MVP put on a show as his 49 points helped keep the Nets at bay. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game was the fact that he made 4-of-8 from 3-point range. As it happens, he’s shooting 31.3 percent from three this season, which is pretty awful. If you’re the Nets, do you live with the single coverage and dare Giannis to do it four to seven times when everything is on the line? That was the approach on Sunday and with this game having high stakes and an opportunity to experiment with some things in the event they meet again, we’ll see how Steve Nash and friends adjust. DeAndre Jordan mentioned the Nets have to do better guarding Giannis, and here is where I remind you that change begins at home.
Also, this happened
The Giannis block followed by the Kyrie three pic.twitter.com/YE0Ku1oVfp— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) May 2, 2021
I love this game.
In his last two games, Kevin Durant is averaging a smooth 42 points a game on a .561/.529/.917 shooting split. KD had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds on Sunday but was just short on a three point attempts late. It happens. Despite that, KD has been sensational all season and even more so since he came back from his recent injury. Durant is impossible to deal with and now that the Nets are down to only two back-to-backs the rest of the way, we should see him a lot more as we come down the stretch. Old nemesis PJ Tucker will try to make life difficult on Durant, which is the best you can hope to do for a player as great as Durant. Tonight promises to be another awesome game and we’re excited to cover it!
From the Vault
For the Bucks to make it to the Finals, they’re probably gonna have to go through the Philadelphia 76ers in addition to the Nets. A few lifetimes ago, they had a chance to get through Philly on their way to the Finals
More reading: Brew Hoop
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks Game Notes - Milwaukee Bucks
- Kevin Durant, Nets look to avenge loss in rematch vs. Bucks - Larry Fleisher - STATS
- Nets-Bucks rematch comes with critical playoff implications - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets don’t view James Harden’s eventual return as cure-all - Peter Botte - New York Post
- That Kevin Durant / Giannis Antetokounmpo duel on Sunday? There’s a rematch on Tuesday - Greg Logan - Newsday
- James Harden could be the difference in playoff series vs. Bucks - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- A scoring boom, blowouts and nerding out on Steph Curry, Zion and Durant: The wildest stats of the NBA season - Seth Partnow - The Athletic NBA
- NETS VS. BUCKS: BROOKLYN KEEPS PLAYOFF FEEL IN MILWAUKEE - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Is Giannis close to his masterpiece after 49-point effort against the Brooklyn Nets? - Jim Owczarski - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel