Giannis Leads Bucks Past Kevin Durant, Nets as Brooklyn's Lope Continues

AP Photo/Adam HungerThe Milwaukee Bucks continue to have the Brooklyn Nets' number after their 121-109 victory on Friday night at Barclays Center. This was the second matchup between two of the Eastern Conference's best teams. The Bucks won the first meeting 127-104 on opening night. Milwaukee came into Friday having lost back-to-back games to the Detroit Pistons…

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AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to have the Brooklyn Nets' quantity after their 121-109 victory on Friday night at Barclays Center. 

This became once the second matchup between two of the Japanese Conference's most effective teams. The Bucks gained the principle meeting 127-104 on opening night. 

Milwaukee came into Friday having misplaced again-to-again video games to the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors. The defending champs are at convey taking half in with out Jrue Holiday, George Hill, Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen and head coach Mike Budenholzer, who are all in the NBA's well being and security protocols. 

The Nets are one in every of the few teams that set now not at convey have anybody in the well being and security protocols. Kyrie Irving became once unable to play on this sport because he refuses to be aware New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. 

Brooklyn ended its three-sport losing plug on Wednesday in opposition to the Indiana Pacers. Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden mixed to procure 79 aspects in a 129-121 victory. 

After Friday's outcome, the Nets have now misplaced four of their ideal 5 video games. They are effectively tied with the Bucks for second in the Japanese Conference standings, even though Brooklyn peaceable has the edge by share aspects. 

All 5 Bucks starters have been at least plus-16 in the have interaction. Bobby Portis had a double-double of 25 aspects and 12 rebounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo set up 31 aspects and nine assists. 

Durant did his segment to preserve the Nets in the sport. He scored 29 aspects on 10-of-19 taking pictures, nevertheless the relaxation of the starting 5 mixed for actual 40 aspects. The crew shot 6-of-27 from three-point differ. 

Distinguished Game Stats

  • Antetokounmpo (MIL): 31 aspects (11-of-17 FG), 9 assists, 7 rebounds
  • Portis (MIL): 25 aspects (9-of-16 FG), 12 rebounds
  • Middleton (MIL): 20 aspects (6-of-15 FG), 6 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Durant (BKN): 29 aspects (10-of-19 FG), 9 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Harden (BKN): 16 aspects (6-of-15 FG), 9 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Cam Thomas (BKN): 14 aspects (6-of-12 FG), 5 rebounds

Portis' Gigantic Game Adds to Stellar Season

When the Bucks are taking half in at their most effective, odds are factual it might perchance well in point of fact maybe be because Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Middleton are dominating on each ends of the courtroom. 

Completely, Antetokounmpo and Middleton performed well in opposition to the Nets. Middleton with out a doubt came to lifestyles after a sluggish delivery up with 15 aspects in the third quarter after scoring appropriate 5 in the principle half of. 

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Kha$h 🔥

However this sport became once a showcase for Portis, what he has dropped on the Bucks all season and why the Nets might perchance be in grief if these two teams meet all over again in the postseason. 

Portis is quietly striking together basically most certainly the greatest season of his profession. The 26-300 and sixty five days-feeble entered Friday averaging a profession-high 15.3 aspects and 8.9 rebounds per sport in 31 appearances. 

Those numbers will breeze up after a dominant outing in opposition to the Nets. Portis led all avid gamers in plus-minus at plus-27 in 32 minutes. 

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Bobby Ballin' 🔥

Cut Friedell @NickFriedell

Bobby Portis appropriate dominating the Nets early. He’s received 18 aspects in 13 minutes and is getting anything he needs spherical the rim. Portis has came across a hell of a dilemma for himself in Milwaukee. He appears to be so joyful on the bottom this day.

As potent as the Nets offense might perchance well furthermore furthermore be, particularly at elephantine power with Irving, or now not it's an delivery secret their lack of size is a set. They'd a little starting lineup with Nic Claxton and David Duke Jr. taking half in with Durant, Harden and Patty Mills. 

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Float chart

Are you a top-seven rotation participant?

Are you a frontcourt participant?

Congratulations, you are going to furthermore very well be a matchup set for Brooklyn.

If issues live as they're at some point of the postseason, Irving might perchance well now not be available to play for Nets home video games in a most likely series with Milwaukee. The Bucks have had no issues facing them this season, winning each head-to-head video games by a mixed 35 aspects. 

Portis is a key distinction-maker for the Bucks, particularly if they have to battle via Brooklyn to repeat as NBA champions.    

Harden's Struggles Highlight Considerations for Nets

The in style feeling spherical the Nets coming into the season became once they'll furthermore bag by with out Irving for a foremost duration of time because Durant and Harden are two of basically most certainly the greatest avid gamers in the NBA. 

Durant has extra than lived up to his billing. The 11-time All-Vital person is arguably the MVP popular appropriate now with a league-leading 30.0 aspects per sport entering Friday. He had an environment friendly sport in opposition to a factual Bucks defense. 

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

Too factual. @KDTrey5 #NBAAllStar

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Kevin Durant has 19 aspects at halftime in opposition to Milwaukee. The relaxation of the Nets starting lineup has 17.

Durant entered Friday having outscored the relaxation of his crew's starters in 4 video games this season, second most effective to Stephen Curry (5 video games) for numerous in the NBA.

The set became once all the issues spherical Durant, most particularly Harden. He is proven no signs of determining what has made him so inconsistent all season. The outdated NBA MVP shot appropriate 6-of-15 from the self-discipline, his fourth consecutive sport making fewer than 42 percent of his makes an strive. 

As well to his taking pictures woes, Harden is now not always doing a extraordinarily factual job of operating Brooklyn's offense when he's in the position of point guard. 

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

This Brooklyn O is operating at a snails slither with Harden at PG.

If you search, every possession starts with 15-16 on the clock because Harden takes the elephantine 8 seconds to sinister half of courtroom.

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

If you behold the Nets, they attain now not feel like this giant crew. They very great feel lke “KD carrying a bunch of dudes and every so customarily Harden is candy and Patty Mills is factual”

Harden remains in a position to being a dominant participant, nevertheless he's most effective doing it in brief flashes. The 32-300 and sixty five days-feeble drove to the basket for an advanced layup by getting spherical Antetokounmpo in the second quarter. 

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

.@JHarden13 to the rim. #NBAAllStar

Brooklyn is peaceable operating from a enviornment of vitality appropriate now. This crew is peaceable appropriate with the Bucks for the No. 2 seed in the east and might perchance well have Irving for numerous of its freeway video games the relaxation of this season. 

Durant has proved he's in a position to striking a crew on his again if wished. However the point of getting a trio with Harden and Irving became once to ease the burden on him. 

As a replacement, the Nets obtain themselves counting on Durant extra than anybody would have anticipated. Harden would now not must play at an MVP level for the Nets to be basically most certainly the greatest model of themselves, nevertheless his ongoing taking pictures woes must be a sigh for them.     

What's Subsequent?

The Bucks will play the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET. The Nets will host the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET. 

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