The brand new-look Nets are attempting to determine the way to play collectively. They misplaced Tuesday evening to a bunch of champions who have already got proven they will win collectively.

The rebuilding Nets seemed good in stretches, however the white-hot Bucks had been nice when it counted. The Nets took a giant lead, however couldn’t maintain on to it, and misplaced 118-104 to Giannis Antetokounmpo and firm earlier than a sell-out crowd of 17,732 at Barclays Middle.

The Nets constructed a 15-point cushion late within the first quarter, and so they led by 10 with 6:47 left within the third quarter. However Antetokounmpo had seven of his game-high 33 factors throughout a 27-9 blitz that spanned the top of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth to sink the hosts.

“Yeah, we simply weren’t there,” stated Mikal Bridges, who led the Nets with 31 factors. “We weren’t in our shifts, not getting again as laborious. After which Giannis bought going, bought to the road, bought the and-ones and dunking and bought them going. So we simply bought to get again, have that mindset popping out. … They dominated the second half, but it surely began with us in that third.”

The Nets (34-27) misplaced for the third straight sport, and for the fifth time in six video games since they traded Kevin Durant to Phoenix. They’re a sport behind the Knicks, which they are going to play Wednesday on the Backyard, for the fifth playoff spot within the Jap Convention and are actually simply 1 ½ video games forward of seventh-place Miami and in peril of falling into the dreaded play-in.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored a game-high 33 factors, drives on Dorian Finney-Smith through the Nets’ 118-104 loss to the Bucks.
Noah Okay. Murray / NY Publish

The Bucks reeled off their NBA season-high fifteenth straight win to enhance to a league-leading 44-17. They usually did it behind a dominant Antetokounmpo, who was getting back from a quad damage and looking out each inch an MVP.

He had a game-high 15 rebounds, added 4 assists and hit the 12-foot fadeaway that capped the game-changing run. That basket put the Nets in a 93-85 gap simply 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, and so they by no means recovered.

“The third quarter, Giannis picked up aggressiveness and lived on the rim. Our collective exercise degree didn’t march his aggressiveness. He turned the tide of the sport, took over. I imply we went from up 10 to down seven,” stated Spencer Dinwiddie, who had 26 factors, eight assists and 6 rebounds, however was amongst a number of Nets who had been helpless earlier than the Bucks star.

“I don’t suppose there’s many gamers within the league that may guard him one-on-one. Clearly we’re not essentially the tallest crew on the planet or the most important crew on the planet. We’ve simply bought to construct that wall and our exercise degree must be extraordinarily, extraordinarily excessive to attempt to power turnovers and be energetic. … However yeah, he turned it up a notch and we didn’t match it.”

Mikal Bridges, who scored a team-high 31 points, looks to make a move on Grayson Allen during the Nets' win.
Mikal Bridges, who scored a team-high 31 factors, seems to be to make a transfer on Grayson Allen through the Nets’ loss.
Noah Okay. Murray / NY Publish

Dinwiddie hit a pull-up 3-pointer to offer the Nets a 28-13 lead with 3:06 left within the first quarter.

However the Bucks had been cruising via the opening half in third gear, whereas the Nets had been going full throttle. Milwaukee’s starters performed simply 68 minutes in a relaxed first half, whereas the Nets’ beginning 5 logged a hefty 93 minutes. That was a transparent indicator of how a lot Nets coach Jacque Vaughn wished to win this one.

“Once I got here again from the break, I advised our group there’s 24 video games that we now have left. We’re going to take every sport extraordinarily critical and attempt to win every sport. So wasn’t actually involved about this being a back-to-back,” Vaughn stated. “Performed these guys heavy minutes to attempt to give ourselves an opportunity within the first half. However you give Milwaukee credit score for responding.”

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo goes up for a layup during the Nets' loss.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo goes up for a layup through the Nets’ loss.
NBAE by way of Getty Pictures

After the Nets took a 62-52 lead on the break, the Bucks stormed out of the locker room with a 12-2 run to open the third quarter. Brook Lopez tied the rating at 64-all with a 3-pointer.

It was 66-all when the Nets ripped off 10 unanswered factors, a Bridges 18-foot pull-up making it 76-66 with 6:47 within the third.

However the Bucks reeled off that 27-9 run to place it away. The Nets shot simply 3-for-13 in a expensive ice-cold drought. In the meantime, the Milwaukee went 12-for-16, together with 7-for-8 within the paint and 4-for-4 on the rim.

And the Nets ran out of gasoline down the stretch.