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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 07: Kevin Durant #7 and Nicolas Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets fight for the rebound with Bobby Portis #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks iduring game two of the Eastern Conference second round series at Barclays Center on June 07, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo : Elsa/Getty Images)
There’s just no stopping the Brooklyn Nets right now. Steve Nash’s men took a commanding 2-0 series lead Monday night as the Nets steamrolled to a comprehensive 125-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.
It was simply a dominant performance by the Nets, who led wire-to-wire and set a new franchise record for made 3-pointers in a playoff game.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Lead the Way
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 32 points, shooting 12 of 18 from the field, including 4 of 6 from deep. Durant has now scored 25 or more points in six of the Nets’ seven playoff games. He also recorded six assists and four rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, scored 22 points and also tallied six assists and five rebounds. Also contributing to the Nets were Bruce Brown and Joe Harris, who scored 13 points apiece.
What makes this performance by Brooklyn even more incredible is that superstar James Harden was sidelined in this contest. The former MVP reinjured his hamstring in the series opener and is now a major doubt for this semifinal clash. However, with the way the Nets are playing right now, they look like they don’t need his services anytime soon.
Brooklyn’s offense was in fine form in Game 2, with the Nets shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Through seven games in this year’s NBA playoffs, the Nets are shooting at a high 49.6 percent clip, 43.2 percent from the three-point area, and 90.8 percent from the free-throw line. They also took care of the basketball in Game 2, dishing out 27 assists and recording just eight turnovers.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Struggles Continue
It was the Nets’ defense; however, that took center stage on Monday. Much has been said about Brooklyn’s offensive firepower, but ultimately it’s the defense that will win you games in the playoffs. That certainly was the case in Game 2, as they held the Bucks to just 86 points on 44 percent shooting from the field. That’s 34 points below Milwaukee’s season average.
Just like in Game 1, the Bucks struggled to get their rhythm from deep, knocking down just 29.6 percent (8 of 27) of their three-point attempts in Game 2.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Milwaukee Bucks, who head home with the possibility of another second-round exit. One guy who needs to step up for the Bucks is two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Even though he recorded a triple-double in Game 2, he was largely ineffective on the offensive end, scoring just 18 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field.
The same can be said of fellow offensive stalwarts Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who combined for just 27 points in the loss. Middleton, at one point, missed his first eight shot attempts, continuing his awful shooting performance in this series. They will need to get their offense in order if they are to avoid facing a 0-3 deficit. Game 3 will commence this coming Thursday in Milwaukee.
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