No second-round game has had more early billing than the Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks series which featured the NBA’s two most notable offenses.
So far, there has been no competition.
NBA Playoffs Live 18a Brooklyn @ Milwaukee Gm3 10.06 2430
Friday June 11 12:30 a.m.
Brooklyn was just as powerful as advertised in building a 2-0 lead. But the struggling Bucks posted their lowest points total of the season in a 125-86 loss in Game 2.
The Bucks’ chances of making this a competitive series depend on their ability to come home and regain the form they have shown before those last two games.
“I think they have a great track record and a history of playing well and responding,” said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer. “We talked about how your character is tested.”
These Bucks certainly have a great record in the regular season. They set the league’s best regular-season record in 2018-19 and 2019-20 before placing third in the Eastern Conference this season.
But they’re considering the likelihood of a second straight second-round playoff exit, unless they change things quickly. Thursday’s playoff action has the Bucks hosting the Nets in Game 3 and the Utah Jazz attempting to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It will be a very difficult game,” said Nets coach Steve Nash. “We’ll see the best of Milwaukee in Game 3. We have to prepare for it and be ready to come out of the gates really strong.”
Brooklyn entered the playoffs with a reputation as an offensive juggernaut and with question marks over its defense. But the Nets spent the first two games of this series putting an end to Milwaukee’s powerful offense.
The Bucks were the first team since the Denver Nuggets 1984-85 to end a regular season averaging at least 120 points per game, but their offense has seemed like a shell of itself so far in this series. The constant activation of Brooklyn’s defense got the Bucks out of sync.
“They were very intense the first two games,” Bucks forward PJ Tucker said of the Nets. “I think they’ve been all over the place, all over the pitch, in attack and defense. I think they just had a little more advantage than us.”
The good news for Tucker at least is that Brooklyn playmaker James Harden will miss Game 3 with a right hamstring strain he suffered just 43 seconds after Game 1. That just leaves Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving then attend.