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Milwaukee vs. Brooklyn: Nets Swipe Victory From Bucks, 119-111

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Bucks fall despite 31 points from Khris Middleton

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As we near the end of the season, every game serves a mountain of importance for the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, they were unable to get it done at the Bradley Center last night, falling to the visiting Brooklyn Nets by a 119-111 score.

Both teams came flying out of the gates to start things off, but the Nets ended up finishing with the upper-hand. They’d hang a 30 burger on Milwaukee in the opening quarter, taking a 30-24 lead into period No. 2. Frustrations would continue as the game shifted onward, with Milwaukee frequently falling into a double-digit hole. When halftime rolled around, the Bucks found themselves down 52-45.

An 18-3 run would grant the Bucks a brief lead late in the third quarter, yet blown defensive assignments failed to make that lead permanent. Heading into the final quarter, Brooklyn maintained an 83-81 lead. As the teams battled in the fourth, it became more and more apparent that things were flying south in this one. The Nets kept striking from deep whenever they wanted — and there was nothing the Bucks could do about it. When it was all said and done, Brooklyn earned an annoying 119-111 victory.

On a positive note, Khris Middleton had himself a pretty respectable game, putting forth 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor. Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to just 19 points and Eric Bledsoe poured in 18 of his own.

Allen Crabbe was the signifying force for Brooklyn, wrapping up his night with a 25 point performance. D’Angelo Russell wasn’t far behind with 22 points of his own.

Three Observations

It was another rough night for Tony Snell.

If your child is having a carton of milk at his or her school lunch, chances are Tony Snell is on the back of it. He’s been missing ever since the trip to the west coast trip began, bringing forth nothing to the Bucks’ offense. How bad is it? In his last six games, he’s registered just 18 points. Yes, you read that right (unfortunately). I asked Joe Prunty postgame about it, and here was what he told me:

If the Bucks are aiming at making some noise in the playoffs — even against a depleted Boston roster — Tony Snell is going to need to break out of this slump. We’ve seen him ignite his clutch gene before and right is a time where Milwaukee desperately needs it.

Oof. The Bucks could not defend the 3-point line to save their lives.

When a team attempts 40 threes, you’d think that it wouldn’t come as a surprise when they’re going to chuck up an attempt. Apparently, the Bucks failed to get the memo on that logic. Brooklyn connected on a damaging 19 threes on the evening, the main reason why they were able to claim the win. It was the first question Prunty was asked in his presser, and he wasted no time declaring it a problem:

“I thought they hit a lot of threes throughout the game. In particular, the ones that were late, [Allen] Crabbe hit one that was significantly tougher than the other one. As the clock is winding down, you have to get to him. The other one, not sure why we couldn’t get a hand up. We have to get closer to a team that shot 39 threes. [That] can’t surprise us.”

Whomever the Bucks wind up facing in the first round, they’re going to shoot the three ball. Plain and simple — if the Bucks defend like they did last night, the Bradley Center is going into extinction with a sweep.

It always seems as if D’Angelo Russell gives the Bucks fits.

He did last night with 22 points, and it really didn’t even seem too difficult for him. He started the game strong and provided a spark for a Brooklyn team that has nothing but pride to play for. It became quickly apparent that his hot shooting became contagious, paving the way for other players such as Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe to get into the action. It drives home the old saying that shooting is contagious. Russell might not be living up to his potential, but it really does seem as if he’s putting out a special effort every time out on the floor against Milwaukee.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • As I mentioned earlier, Khris Middleton had another brilliant showing, finishing with 31 points on the night (his ninth 30 point performance of the season). That marked his fifth game in the last five matchups that have garnered at least 20 points. It’s definitely a good sign that his stock is trending up as the playoffs sit on the horizon.
  • It really felt as if the first quarter was indicative of how this one was going to go. Brooklyn made it look easy as they wrote 30 points on the board with ease. We all know that the Bucks can never put forth a healthy four quarters in a game, so at least they did us a solid of preventing much hope early on.
  • I guess you could say the Bucks played down to their opponents (it’s the Nets), but this Brooklyn team has been hot as of late. But still, that’s no excuse. The Bucks should’ve blown this team out of the water, especially if they want to push a series to seven games or move on in the playoffs.
  • Hey! At least Washington coughed up their game to Cleveland, which means the 7th seed is still in contention for the Bucks. They control their own destiny in earning the right to play the banged up Boston Celtics. Had Washington pulled out the victory, it would’ve been done and dusted for Milwaukee.
  • And last, in tonight’s “What Did Giannis Do?” category:

Well deserved for the Greek Freak. He continues to etch his name into the franchise’s history books and as always, it’s a joy to watch.