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David Duke Jr., Jalen Wilson lead Nets to Summer League blowout of Bucks

The Nets are 2-1 in the Summer League after a 92-71 blowout win over the Bucks at the Cox Pavilion Tuesday. Brooklyn was fueled by David Duke Jr. who finished with 24 points and Jalen Wilson who covered the box score with 14 points, eight boards, five assists and three steals.

The Nets and Bucks went back and forth in the first half, ending the second quarter tied up, 40-40, after five lead changes and five ties. That was as close as Milwaukee got the rest of the way. The Nets exploded in the third, outscoring the Bucks, 35-9, and going up by 29 at one point. It was the Bucks first loss, dropping them to 2-1 as well.

The quarter and game were filled with high flying moves from Trevor Hendry’s athletic roster...

Duke Jr. now in his third Summer League — and without a contract, either a standard or two-way — stuffed the stat sheet as well as putting up one highlight after the other. In talking to Brian Lewis on Monday, Duke expressed optimism that he will find another opportunity, whether with the Nets or elsewhere.

“My whole career I feel like there’s been things that have kind of been thrown at me that I didn’t expect, so it’s not really something that shook me or anything like that. ,” said Duke, admitting that he didn’t expect the Nets to decline his qualifying offer. “I’m in this position and I know there’s a greater plan for me. I just have a different route. I’m just going to ride the wave for now and make the best out of it.”

Duke was 8-of-15 overall, 1-of-3 from deep, with eight rebounds and three assists. In 24 minutes, the 6’5” wing was a +35, second only to rookie Noah Clowney who finished +42. Clowney, the Nets 21st pick, had only six points and six boards in 24 minutes, but played solid defense with three steals and a block.

Wilson once again displayed his old man’s game, finding creases in the defense, finishing touches around the rim and hitting three three’s, looking like an NBA 3-and-D candidate. The Big 12 Player of the Year and consensus First Team All-American has wowed both fans and Nets staffers.

“He just brings a bunch of energy,” Hendry said. “That’s whether it’s on the offensive glass or they’re just trying to drive it to get to the rim. Defensively, he can guard essentially every possession.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed that Wilson’s success in Summer League will have beneficiaries beyond the Nets...

Kennedy Chandler provided an early spark for Brooklyn, scoring 17 points and dishing seven assists. The 6’0” high flyer was particularly effective breaking down the Bucks defense with high-speed dashes to the rim. Armoni Brooks, who had shot 52% from deep in the Nets first two games, scored 13 points but shot only 2-of-8 beyond the arc.

The game was also notable for all the Brooklyn Nets players in attendance. In addition to Dariq Whitehead who sat on the bench in a walking boot, the nearby courtside seats were filled with the newly re-signed Cam Johnson, the newly signed Lonnie Walker IV plus Royce O’Neale, Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe and Dorian Finney-Smith...

Tuesday was also the first chance for beat writers to talk with Johnson after he signed a guaranteed four-year, $95 million deal that could grow to $108 million if he reaches certain incentives.

C.J. described his new deal as a blessing and a relief.

“It’s a big relief. You try not to think about it; human nature kind of makes you think about it,” said Johnson. “But it’s a blessing, it’s a relief & being able to move forward having a better understanding of what could be in the future gives me comfort.”

Asked what was the first “treat” he allowed himself after the big payday, Johnson said he paid off his parents’ home.

Walker, who signed on Monday, described himself as a “perfect” fit for the Nets.

“I’m 24, very athletic guard, can score in a plethora of different ways. Being able to identify myself on the defensive side, being that dog and having players thats gonna bring that energy as well it’s going to be an easy transition,” said Walker who had career highs last season with the Lakers. He also promised kiss-the-rim moments with Dennis Smith Jr.

Walker spoke as well about Mikal Bridges, the team’s acknowledged leader..

“He has a great presence. He’s a great human being. A very loving, caring person. A very humble individual,” said Walker of Bridges. “On the court, he’s just a killer, man. To see his growth from Villanova to Phoenix to getting his biggest role with the Nets and accepting that role and taking it to a whole another level. It just really just shows what type of person he is on and off the court, and it’s well- deserved.”

Also on hand for the game were Sean Marks, Jacque Vaughn and Joe Tsai, none of whom spoke with the media. Tsai was in Las Vegas for the NBA Board of Governors meeting.

Marks spoke earlier Tuesday on SiriusXM Radio’s NBA program with Frank Isola and Sarch Kustok and once again spoke about Ben Simmons’ importance to the Nets going forward.

“You know, he is a very important piece. I mean, let’s not beat around the bush. He’s a very important piece of how we sort of build going forward,” said Marks echoing what he told beat writers two nights ago at Cox Pavilion.

“He certainly fits the timeline and, you know, he’s a unique player and what he can do on the court for us, size and defensive and athletic ability and just doing some things that, to be quite frank, not many people can do. So, you know, we need him out there, we need him back healthy.”

With the rapid fire signings of Smith, Walker, Whitehead and Clowney plus the Nets decision to guarantee Royce O’Neale’s deal over the last three days, Brooklyn is now at 14 standard deals, counting Edmond Sumner whose second year option the Nets must exercise by Saturday.

There was one odd minute, and literarily just a minute, for the Nets late. With the game out of control and the scrubs in the game, Nick Perkins, was ejected from the game after picking up two technicals in one minute.

What’s Next

The Nets play the Raptors on Thursday in what could be a big game for the team’s title aspirations. The two teams will square off at 5:00 ET at the Thomas & Mack Center on ESPN2.

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