Usually, it is a good thing when your starters are sitting on the bench in their warmups to begin the fourth quarter, but for the Bucks, it is the complete opposite in this NBA playoff series. The Brooklyn Nets led the Milwaukee Bucks by 30 points entering the fourth quarter of Game 2 and the Nets were able to take the first two games of this Eastern Conference Semifinals series as it gets ready to shift to Milwaukee.
Brooklyn did their job by defending their home court, but they did not just win the first two games of this series. The Nets have dismantled the Bucks through two games in this series and flat out embarrassed them in Game 2, beating Milwaukee 125-86, the Nets largest playoff victory in franchise history. Milwaukee had a poor shooting night in Game 1’s loss and many believed that this could not happen again, but then it did again in Game 2, only this time, Brooklyn made them pay for it.
After the first quarter in Game 2, Brooklyn led the Bucks 36-19 and this game had blowout written all over it given how easy the Brooklyn Nets were making things look. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were “playing with their food” this entire game and really were not challenged by the Bucks defense.
Durant finished with 32 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists in Game 2 and Kyrie Irving finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. If you would have told me that Brooklyn would win Game 2 against Milwaukee not just without James Harden, but with KD and Kyrie combining for just 54 points, I would have told you that you were insane, but that is exactly what happened!
The Bucks have not come to play whatsoever in this series and Brooklyn’s entire team is gaining confidence every single time they see Giannis take a jump shot or miss a free-throw in this series. Blake Griffin has been spectacular through two games, Mike James has been a problem that Milwaukee has not solved off-the-bench and Bruce Brown is a 6’4” guard that is bullying his way in the paint and grabbing rebounds on both ends of the court over Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez.
Yes, the Brooklyn Nets are beating the Milwaukee Bucks in this series, but the Bucks are not helping themselves by beating themselves. This series is almost like watching a boxing match where one fighter is just beating up on the other and the guy getting the “you-know-what” beaten out of him is not fighting back. Watching the Nets in Game 2 was almost comical at times because they looked like the Harlem Globetrotters giving the Washington Generals yet another loss!
Now, the series heads to Milwaukee with the Nets leading 2-0 and the Bucks will need to hit the refresh button this series to try and win what seems like a “must-win” Game 3 now.
“Whether you get beat by a point or by 40, you know, you’ve got to be ready for Game 3. You’ve got to have a short-term memory,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer stated to the media in his postgame press conference. “They’ve won two games at home. Now it’s our turn to go play there [Milwaukee]. You know we’ve got to go and protect our home court, just like they protected theirs. If you’ve been in the league a long time you’ve seen this before and we’ve got to go home and play better.”
After a loss like this, especially in the NBA playoffs, it is extremely important to try and take away some small things that your team did wrong, but to also use this game as extra motivation moving forward. There is not much to say after getting blown at by 40 points other than what the Bucks’ coaching staff and players stated of just “moving forward,” and “getting ready to defend home court in Games 3 and 4.”
Milwaukee has shot poorly from deep in this series so far and they have not done a good job at making some in-game adjustments, which is why Game 3 of this series will be very interesting. Milwaukee won both of their home games during the regular season against Brooklyn and the Nets played both games without James Harden, so this Bucks team is more than capable of beating Brooklyn in this playoff series.
Not having Donte DiVincenzo (foot) has seemed to hurt the Bucks and their rotations early on in this series, but role players always seem to play better when they are at home, so hopefully for Milwaukee’s sake, guys like Bryn Forbes, P.J. Tucker, Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton can help make a difference to shift momentum back in favor of the Bucks.
The Brooklyn Nets have taken the first two games of this series, defending their home court and straight up embarrassing the Bucks early on in this series, but we will get to see if there is any signs of life and fire within this Milwaukee team as Game 3 is set to take place Thursday, June 10 at 7:30 PM EST on ESPN.