Bucks return to Brooklyn to play Nets in semi-finals

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January 5, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, United States; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots the ball while Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (11) and center Myles Turner (33) defend in the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Milwaukee Bucks visited the Brooklyn Nets, they held their breath as Kevin Durant’s foot was not behind the 3-point line at the end of the settlement, then celebrated after winning a Classic 7 game. in overtime.

Almost seven months after winning the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Nets, the Bucks return to Brooklyn on Friday night.

Milwaukee overcame loss in the first two games of the series, then won two elimination games before beating the Atlanta Hawks in the conference finals and the Phoenix Suns in the NBA finals. Those streak wins came after the Bucks outlived Durant’s 48 points and long 2 points at the end of the settlement, then secured a 115-111 win when Khris Middleton hit the green light.

This time around, the Bucks have the third best record in the East and are looking to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season after struggling considerably in the second half of the home losses to the Detroit Pistons and Raptors. from Toronto.

After falling 54-42 in the second half on Monday, the Bucks canceled their first half by 77 points and were outscored 49-34 after halftime in Wednesday’s 117-111 loss to Toronto.

“It’s not good enough at all, I think for us it doesn’t matter who is out there on the pitch,” said Middleton. “The same excitement or the same desire to win that we’ve been playing with the last few minutes, we just have to find a way to do it the whole game. I think it’s that easy.

Middleton scored 14 of his 25 points in the second half but had little support without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was a late scratch with non-COVID disease. Antetokounmpo has missed five games in NBA health and safety protocol and is averaging 32.6 points and 11.2 rebounds in five games since his return.

While Antetokounmpo was done with protocol, the Bucks were missing Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, George Hill and coach Mike Budenholzer due to protocol. Darvin Ham replaced Budenholzer on Wednesday and will likely do so again on Friday.

The Nets have lost three of their last four games. After trailing 28 in a 118-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, the Nets staged their biggest comeback of the season by rallying 19 for a 129-121 victory over Indiana in Kyrie’s return. Irving as a part-time player on Wednesday.

Irving scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, but is not eligible to appear in home games due to New York City’s vaccination mandate.

Without Irving, the Nets are hoping for another dynamic performance from Durant, who scored 39 points against Indiana. Durant has at least 20 points in 16 straight games, and his last big night came as the Nets dominated the fourth quarter edging Indiana 35-20 and making 13 of 19 shots from the field.

“We had to go into a deep hole before we showed the game the respect it deserves,” said Nets coach Steve Nash. “At this point we are now confident and they can see a big win. We have shown character to fight back. We showed a ton of energy to win the game, but it’s that kind of first-half start that can’t be a constant thing.

The Nets are hoping to set him up for a full game this time around, especially since they’re 0-7 combined against the Chicago Bulls, Bucks, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Memphis.

– Media at field level

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