The Nets fell to 5-13 on the season with a 111-93 loss on Thursday night to the Jason Kidd-led Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center. Two days after snapping a 7-game losing streak in stunning fashion with a double overtime win over the Clippers, the Nets played a strong first half against Milwaukee before falling apart in the second.
Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 15 points with Sean Kilpatrick and Bojan Bogdanovic adding 14 and 13 points apiece. The Bucks were paced by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who nearly had a triple-double (23 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) through three quarters and didn’t do anything in the final frame. Jabari Parker scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting in the win, which improved Milwaukee to 9-8.
These teams will continue a home-and-home series on Saturday in Milwaukee. The Nets are now 0-2 against the Bucks this year and since taking the job with Milwaukee, Kidd is 8-1 against his former team.
Here are some notes and observations from the game:
- Teams with the Bucks’ length and size will always cause problems for the Nets, but those teams usually aren’t great at perimeter shooting. Milwaukee doesn’t make many threes, but the Nets left the Bucks’ weapons wide open beyond the arc, and paid the price. Four different Bucks (Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell, former Net Mirza Teletovic and Malcolm Brogdon) made at least three triples as Milwaukee went 15-for-34 collectively from deep. Whenever Giannis or a Bucks guard penetrated the first layer of the Brooklyn defense, the Nets collapsed, leaving shooters wide open on the wing and in the corners. A lot of that fault lies with the Brooklyn guards, like Isaiah Whitehead, who need to hold back on fully helping when they’re vacating their defensive assignments.
- The good shooting didn’t extend to the home team, however. Brooklyn rushed shots all game, resulting in an ugly 34-for-89 (38.2 percent) shooting line from the field. The Nets took 40 threes, making only 12, and with Brook Lopez spending much of time outside of the three-point line, didn’t establish much of an interior presence. A big factor in that is Milwaukee’s huge frontcourt, especially John Henson who blocked five shots. Without Jeremy Lin, whose ability to get to the rim and draw defenders away from the Nets’ post players, those shots at the rim aren’t high-percentage for Brooklyn.
- A lot of the blame for this loss should fall on the Nets’ starters, who had to be bailed out by the second unit in the first half and let this game turn into a blowout in the third quarter (nothing new there). Sean Kilpatrick, fresh off a career performance on Tuesday, was a -23 and committed six turnovers — the Nets had 18 as a team, leading to 26 Milwaukee points — while Lopez, Bogdanovic, Trevor Booker and Isaiah Whitehead posted ugly plus/minus numbers as well.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returned from a four-game absence — due to ankle soreness — and played 17 minutes, scoring seven points (with this nice crossover of Brogdon). His shot was off a bit but he blocked two shots and played as good defense on Antetokounmpo as you’d expect for someone giving up as many inches as he is.
- No Yogi Ferrell (in non-garbage time) for the second-straight game, as Randy Foye was the backup point guard. Foye didn’t shoot very well, but he was active on the glass and defensively, forcing a few turnovers.
- Brook Lopez took 12 shots on Thursday, and eight were three-pointers. I understand the point of this offense is get open looks from three, but considering Brooklyn’s size disadvantage against Milwaukee, I found it weird that Brook wasn’t established down low at all. He can exploit a matchup with a skinnier defender like Henson, Giannis, Jabari Parker or whoever else the Bucks threw at him.