Battle of tops: Bucks clinch play-off spot defeating the Nets

Battle of tops continued tonight as well with Milwaukee Bucks facing Brooklyn Nets again.

In the last match between them, the Bucks defeated the Nets 117-114 improving their record.

And tonight the Bucks not only improved their record but also clinched the play-off spot with a 124-118 win over the Nets back-to-back.

Now the Bucks stay with a record of 41-24 with a win percentage of .631, one and a half games behind the no.2 Nets, and three games behind the no.1 Philadelphia 76ers.

The Bucks now entered the playoffs for the fifth season in a row.

Bucks strong 1st half

Jrue Holiday scored the first shot of the game to give the Bucks lead just 20 seconds into the game.

But the Nets Kevin Durant answered right back with a jumper followed by Kyrie Irving’s layup to bring the game 4-2 after one and a half minutes of play.

The Nets took a five-point lead with a back-to-back shot but the Bucks star Giannis answered back with a three-pointer and drew a foul when scoring a layup after Brook Lopez blocked Irving giving a lead to the Bucks.

The Nets trailed the Bucks for almost the entire first quarter starting with as much as 4 points and going as much as five points.

They were four points behind with 37.3 seconds left in the quarter when Durant drew a foul scoring a jumper cutting the lead to a point to end the quarter.

The Bucks continued dominance on the 1st half.

Entering the second quarter, the Nets and the Bucks were at 33-34, with the Bucks in the lead.

The Nets started the second quarter with a 7-2 run taking a four-point lead.

And subsequently both the teams went back and forth scoring buckets.

The game tied at 44-44 with 8:14 remaining in the quarter.

And the Nets scoring after that to take the lead but the Bucks tied again with 6:19 left in the clock.

The game went head to head with the Bucks answering each Nets’ shot to tie the game and the Nets doing the same each time the Bucks took the lead.

But with about four minutes left in the half, the Bucks fired up taking the lead.

Bucks defeat the Nets back to back
Bucks defeat the Nets back to back (source: netsdaily.com)

The Bucks were 5 points ahead when the clock showed 1:57.

Bucks Bobby Portis hammered a dunk extending the lead to 7 points with 55-62 on the board. 

And Giannis scored jumper with 46.3 seconds left to take 10 point lead before Irving hitting the final shot of the quarter to end the half with 66-58.

At the start of the third quarter, the Bucks were in the lead after ending the 1st half with an eight-point lead.

Kyrie and Kevin scoring to take the lead.

Kevin Durant started the third with a three-pointer and Giannis answered right back with a three-pointer of his own.

The Bucks took the 10-point lead about half into the third quarter.

Joe Harris dropped a three-pointer followed by Kevin Durant’s layup to start a 14-7 run ultimately taking two point lead to end the quarter.

The Bucks comeback in the fourth.

Blake Griffin three-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave the Nets five points lead at 100-95 with 10:27 remaining in the game.

The Bucks tied the game at 104-104 with 7:57 in the clock.

Subsequently extending the lead to four points after Jrue Holiday scooped in a layup. 

Khris Middleton shot a layup making the game 110-104 with the Bucks in the lead.

Giannis then drew a foul scoring a layup.

The Bucks took largest lead of the quarter with 11 points at 108-119 with 3:26 minutes left on the clock.

The Nets did try to make a comeback with scoring from Kyrie and Kevin.

However the Bucks just kept on answering back ever shot the Nets made.

Finally they made the series sweep of the Nets with 124-118 on the score board.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving huge scoring partnership.

Despite the loss Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving dropped huge scoring for the Nets.

They had 70 points partnership on the night.

Where Kyrie led the scoring for the Nets dropping 38 points while Kevin followed Kyrie with 32 points offensivelt.

The Nets superstar duo combined to shoot 25 for 47 from the field and 10 for 20 from three-point line.

Just with Kevin and Kyrie, they are already a dominant duo in the league. After Harden returns from the injury, the trio will be unstoppable.

If they keep up with the same pace for scoring even after Harden returns.

The Nets will be tough team to beat.

Kevin overall finished the night with 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists playing forty minutes.

Meanwhile, Kyrie led the scoreboard dropping 38 points, along with 5 assists, 3 rebounds.

Jeff Green scored 10 points and 5 rebounds to wrap up the list of the Nets starter in double figures.

Joe Harris led the bench scoring 12 points, with 2 rebounds playing 33 points.

Similarly, Mike James dropped 10 points playing ten minutes along with a rebound and three assists.

While Blake Griffin dropped 9 points with 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

Loss shades some light on the Nets problem.

The Nets lost their consecutive games to the Bucks back-to-back. This loss now shades lights on the Nets problem to win the game.

It also brought in the focus on the Bucks core’s familiarity that is built through several deep playoff runs.

“That is a huge factor,” Durant said afterward. “Continuity is a big thing in this league.”

The Nets’ player suffering from injuries time to time has brought problem in their connectivity and continuity.

For example, the Nets big three players, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant themselves haven’t played more than seven games together.

So, it is hard for them to connect and familiarise during the game once James return to the Nets.

On the other hand, Bucks have players that are playing together for several seasons now.

So they are familiar with each other plays which is very advantageous.

The Nets Coach on their problem.

“We’ve got a gap to make up here,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “We understand that’s a team that’s been running the same offense, been playing together, same schemes on defense for years now.

Gone deep into the playoffs, and that’s something we don’t have, so how can we make up that gap? That’s kind of our life in a nutshell heading home here.”

While the Nets are still working to build the chemistry and rhythm.

But what advantageous for the Nets is the presence of experience players, who are in this league for several years now.

“We got veterans on this team that played in different situations that know pretty much every terminology that goes on in this league and every kind of set that we run on both sides,” Durant said.

“That’s in our advantage as well, having that veteran leadership, but we still are a connected group.”

Durant said that because of that experience, he feels like the team has “been together for years,” even though it has been only one season.

Durant added, “We gotta continue to keep building on that.”

Nash summed up the Nets’ remaining regular-season goals as trying to get back to full health and trying to “overcome a lack of common experiences.”

“That is our challenge as much as anything,” Nash said. “While we do that, can we be more physical? Can we be more connected? Can we handle and control some of the controllables that can help us hang in some of these games and win some of these games while we’re trying to put the pieces together?”

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis helping hands.

The reigning MVP Giannis led the scoring lineup in the win over the Nets back-to-back on Tuesday night.

He scored 36 points, the final two coming of clutch free throws with 51.9 seconds left. 

The Bucks star also had 12 rebounds making double-double of the night along with 4 assists.

With the win, the Bucks now clinched a play-ff spot along with winning their third straight and also giving the Nets their third straight loss.

 The Bucks have gone 5-1 against the conference’s top two teams.

Bucks clinch playoff spot
Bucks clinch playoff spot (source: twitter.com)

“I just always use the same term: We learn more about ourselves,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said of the team’s recent success against Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

“We’ve got to get better.”

These teams do a lot of things to put you in tough spots. They’re both going to be good. They’re both got guys who are missing. But it’s competitive, it’s good to get a win, it’s important to keep playing well going down the stretch here.”

But this win wouldn’t have been easy without Giannis receiving help from his teammates.

His teammates fill up their weaknesses perfectly and play their part well to give their team the wins.

Tonight as well the Bucks did an excellent job offensively to fill up the void of Giannis when he sit out for the foul trouble.

On this night, the Bucks ‘big three’ took turns taking over the game. As a result, they finished the night with huge scoring.

Bucks scoring highlights.

Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday both tied for the second lead for the Bucks.

With both scoring 23 points each,  and Khris adding 7 rebounds with 4 assists and Holiday adding 8 rebounds another double-double with 10 assists.

Donte DiVincenzo also added a double-double, scoring 10 points and 15 rebounds with 2 assists.

Meanwhile, Bryn Fobes led the scoring for the Bench dropping 14 points.

This win has surely built the Bucks confidence going forward.

“It means a lot,” Holiday said. “Really just kind of size yourself up against a team and not only that, but teams have to make adjustments.

After one game, one win, you have go back and make adjustments and go out and play the next time”.

“So, I think we did a good job adjusting and really locking in and paying attention to detail and we got the win”, he added.

With that being said, the Bucks also know that the Nets and 76ers both were not at full strength in each of the matchups in the regular season.

“Great wins, obviously, I’m glad we were able to put up a show for our fans and we were able to build good habits in those games but that’s all,” Antetokounmpo said. “It don’t mean nothing.

No one is going to remember these games when we’re in the playoffs. Me personally, it doesn’t mean nothing to me.

All I care about is that the team was able to come out playing hard, everybody was locked in, offensively we took care of the ball, we got clean looks, we tried to make it as hard as possible for them.

I’m happy for that but for the win, win or lose, does not mean nothing. Player are going to be all different. Different case (in the playoffs).”

 

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