There’s no doubt when you see this kind of fight: the playoffs are fast approaching! The Nets took advantage of their arrival on the defending champion’s floor to remind that Kyrie Irving could quite manage the Brooklyn house, even without Kevin Durant and while waiting for Ben Simmons.
The Bucks had however taken control via their interiors at the start of the game, with Bobby Portis and his two 3-point baskets then Serge Ibaka with a 2 + 1 (16-8). Brooklyn responded with their Irving-Aldridge duo, until Goran Dragic signed his arrival with a 3-pointer, 50 seconds after entering the game to equalize at 23-23.
The Nets then took the lead following an 8-0 start to the second quarter with 3-point missiles from the Curry-Edwards pair and a new basket from Goran Dragic, on the counterattack this time (32- 33). Milwaukee regained control before the break thanks to a series of 3-pointers signed Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. Khris Middleton and Wes Matthews imitated their teammates and the Bucks were able to turn to +6 at the break (59-53).
It took a lot more to control the Nets who left with the knife between their teeth, with an Irving-Curry-Brown trio that completely changed the situation. In turn, the trio chained three 3-point baskets to give Steve Nash’s troops a 13-point lead (74-87).
Back to the wall, Milwaukee reacted following a new remarkable passage from Bobby Portis, author of two 3-point baskets and a dunk which woke up the Fiserv Forum (86-91). Then it was Khris Middleton who scored 7 points at the end of the third quarter to maintain the suspense (93-96).
In the last act, it was once again Bobby Portis who pulled off the big game by passing two new baskets behind the arc which ended up giving the advantage to the locals (101-100). With the help of Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen, the interior thus gave his team a 7-point lead at the start of money-time, the moment chosen by Kyrie Irving to set the record straight (112-105 ).
The point guard first slammed two baskets including a 3-point missile and then was able to count on Seth Curry to add two shots and find Bruce Brown behind the arc (116-118). Despite two faults which offered three throws to Grayson Allen then Khris Middleton, Brooklyn got away with it. Kyrie Irving did not miss the important shots to snatch the victory (123-126), unlike the Bucks tandem who cracked at the worst time.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The “revenge” of the Nets. This is the first time since their elimination in the playoffs last season that the Nets manage to beat the Bucks. This success therefore has a particular flavor on the floor of the defending champion for Steve Nash’s troops, especially since they are still evolving without Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant. A far from trivial success that Brooklyn won with forceps at the end of the match, thanks in particular to the mastery of Kyrie Irving, also revengeful over this lost series.
– Too much trash for Milwaukee. Like Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rather poor performance, Milwaukee had too much waste in their game at the end to claim victory. A single figure could be enough with regard to the number of free throws missed by the Bucks in this match (13, at 25/38). We can also mention the 14 balls lost, double the Nets on the meeting!
✅ Kyrie Irving. A gradual rise in power and an end to the match where he distinguished himself by attempting shots that were always difficult but some of which hit the bull’s eye. Nothing better to kill the morale of the Bucks who ended up cracking up against his almost infallible concentration on free throws. Upon arrival, the point guard delivered his best offensive game of his season at 38 points to accompany his 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
✅ Bobby Portis. The man who lit the fuse at the start of the game, kept the flame going and then ignited the room to put his people back in the lead at the start of the fourth quarter. His performance with 30 points, 12 rebounds and his important baskets would have deserved a better end for the Bucks, but the Nets decided otherwise.
⛔ Giannis Antetokounmpo. The “Greek Freak” struggled to get into his game, barely making up for it with his rebounding aggression and displays of force near the circle. His end to the match was on the other hand catastrophic since he made a series of bad choices, between a bad fadeaway in front of James Johnson, a bad pass for Jrue Holiday which ended in return in zone, an attempt near the circle blocked by André Drummond, and a slightly soft pass in the corner for Bobby Portis who found himself blocked in turn. Unsurprisingly, his last 3-point shot didn’t find the target, making him 8/20 in shooting for 29 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists.
Milwaukee (36-25): the Bucks will host Charlotte on Monday.
Brooklyn (32-29): the Nets start a double-header against the Raptors, at home on Monday to start.