Nets 133, Bucks 128: Last Word

MILWAUKEE | Playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks fell short at home against the Brooklyn Nets 133-128.

Player of the game: Eric Bledsoe

Despite the loss, Bledsoe was the best player on the floor Saturday. He finished with a game-high and his season-high 33 points, 11 assists and four rebounds. He was big down the stretch as well scoring nine points in the fourth quarter.

Play of the game: Middle-dime

Khris Middleton isn’t known for his play-making abilities but perhaps, he should be. He’s made some incredible passes during a season that he’s averaging a career-high in assists (4.3). Also, what was impressive about this play was how it started. Middleton was able to strip all-star D’Angelo Russell to start the fast-break.

The good: The fight

I’m not one for moral victories and this Bucks’ team certainly doesn’t need any but the way they battled back after being down 12 points at the start of the final frame was impressive. Never giving up has been a common theme for Milwaukee this season but to see it in a game they had nothing to play for against a team that is fighting for the playoffs is motivating.

I’m bored of the regular season and want to watch post-season basketball, but I was glued to the edge of my seat witnessing this finish. Nets’ guard Joe Harris spoke about the importance of the win.

Given the circumstances, playoff position and where everybody is at, it’s arguably one of our biggest wins of the season.

The not so good: The defense

Milwaukee gave up 133 points to a team that averages 112 points per game which is good for 15th in the NBA. They had trouble early on slowing down Russell who poured in 12 points (5-5 FG) in the first quarter.

Stat of the game: 12

Brooklyn crashed the offensive boards grabbing 12 of them leading to 14 second-chance points. Budenholzer said they allowed too many second-chance opportunities down the stretch. Net’s head coach Kenny Atkinson spoke about the team’s rebounding and doing the little things down the stretch.

That’s been an Achilles heel for us. I thought tonight we were excellent. On the offensive glass we got a bunch of big ones. I think the things we were missing against Toronto and the last Milwaukee game was that. Making those important winning plays. [Treveon Graham] got a big offensive rebound that helped us out. Huge plays, so many huge plays I can’t even remember them all. Guys stepped up big time.

What they said:

Budenholzer on the loss

Tough game today. A lot of credit to Brooklyn. A couple of guys shot it really well. [Caris] LeVert really stands out making a lot of threes. D’Angelo Russell to start the game making a lot of threes. I think we need to finish some of our defensive possessions. It was a problem a week ago when we played them and again tonight. There were too many second-chance opportunities down the stretch. It was a close game. We have to find a way to come up with those boards and I think we outshot them. We did a lot of things where we had the advantage, but the offensive boards were the difference, especially late.

D.J. Wilson on if the team would take great pride in getting 60 wins

I think that’s a great thing to accomplish. We secured the number one seed, but we want to get as many wins as we can, so hopefully we can get these next two games.

In case you missed it:

*Milwaukee has now knocked down 1,081 three-pointers this season. The Bucks’ 1,081 three-pointers now rank fourth for most three-pointers made in a season in NBA history.

*This was the Bucks’ 26th game shooting 50% or better this season. Milwaukee has outshot its opponent 58 times this year.

*Bledsoe scored a season-high 33 points (12-17 FG, 5-6 3PT). He also dished out 11 assists for his eighth double-double of the season.

*Middleton tallied his 29th game of the season scoring 20+ points as he finished the night with 24 points. Middleton has now scored 20+ points in his last three games played.

*George Hill scored 14 points (5-8 FG). Hill has now scored in double figures in his last four games played.

What’s next?

The Bucks (59-21) host the Atlanta Hawks (21-59) on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00pm.