Bucks face character take a look at after getting embarrassed by Nets

MILWAUKEE — No second-round matchup had extra advance billing than the Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks sequence that featured the NBA’s two highest-scoring offenses.

Up to now, it’s been no contest.

Brooklyn has been each bit as potent as marketed in constructing a 2-0 lead. However the struggling Bucks posted their lowest level complete of the season in a 125-86 Sport 2 loss.

The Bucks’ probabilities of making this a aggressive sequence rely on whether or not they can return residence and regain the shape they confirmed earlier than these final couple of video games.

“I feel they’ve an awesome observe file and historical past of taking part in nicely and responding,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned Wednesday. “We talked about how your character is examined.”

These Bucks definitely have an awesome observe file within the common season. They posted the league’s finest regular-season file in 2018-19 and 2019-20 earlier than ending third within the Japanese Convention this season.

However they’re staring on the probability of a second straight second-round playoff exit except they flip issues round shortly. Thursday’s playoff motion has the Bucks internet hosting the Nets in Sport 3 and the Utah Jazz making an attempt to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.

“That is going to be a extremely powerful recreation,” Nets coach Steve Nash mentioned. “We’ll see the most effective Milwaukee has in Sport 3. We’ve obtained to be ready for that and be prepared to return out of the gates actually robust.”

Brooklyn entered the playoffs with a fame as an offensive juggernaut and with query marks on its protection. However the Nets have spent the primary two video games of this sequence shutting down Milwaukee’s high-powered offense.

The Bucks had been the primary group for the reason that 1984-85 Denver Nuggets to complete an everyday season averaging at the very least 120 factors per recreation, however their offense has appeared like a shell of itself thus far on this sequence. Brooklyn’s fixed switching on protection has thrown the Bucks out of sync.

“They’ve had nice depth the primary two video games,” Bucks ahead P.J. Tucker mentioned of the Nets. “I feel they’ve type of been everywhere, all around the ground, on offense and protection. I feel they simply had just a little extra of an edge than we’ve had.”

NETS AT BUCKS

Sport 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN.

— NEED TO KNOW: The Nets are coming off their most lopsided playoff victory in franchise historical past and have an opportunity to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Kevin Durant has outplayed Giannis Antetokounmpo to date within the matchup of former MVPs, however essentially the most notable distinction on this sequence is 3-point capturing. The Nets are 36 of 81 (44.4%) on 3-point makes an attempt. The Bucks are 14 of 57 (24.6%).

— KEEP AN EYE ON: Nets ahead Blake Griffin. The 32-year-old is averaging a double-double (12 factors, 11 rebounds) this sequence and has carried out a pleasant job of defending Antetokounmpo, who averaged 39.7 factors in opposition to Brooklyn within the common season however had simply 18 factors in Sport 2.

— INJURY WATCH: Nash mentioned Brooklyn’s James Harden and Jeff Inexperienced received’t play in Sport 3. Harden left Sport 1 within the opening minute with proper hamstring tightness and hasn’t performed since. Inexperienced hasn’t performed in any respect on this sequence as a result of a plantar fascia pressure.

— PRESSURE IS ON: Bucks ahead Khris Middleton. The 2-time All-Star has shot 13 of 43 general and three of 13 from 3-point vary this sequence. Though Middleton scored 17 factors in Sport 2, he missed his first eight pictures and far of his manufacturing got here after the sport was already out of attain. Middleton scored at the very least 23 factors in every of the Bucks’ three regular-season matchups with Brooklyn.

“I’ve simply obtained to discover a higher rhythm, a greater shot choice I feel,” Middleton mentioned after Sport 2.

CLIPPERS AT JAZZ

Sport 2, 10 p.m. EDT, ESPN.

— NEED TO KNOW: Donovan Mitchell overcame nausea to attain 45 factors in Utah’s 112-109 Sport 1 win. The Clippers performed Sport 1 simply two nights after gutting out a Sport 7 first-round victory over Dallas and now have solely sooner or later of relaxation earlier than Sport 2. The Clippers beat Dallas after shedding the primary two video games of that sequence however would slightly not must dig their approach out of a 0-2 gap once more.

— KEEP AN EYE ON: Jazz ahead Bojan Bogdanovic. His 18-point efficiency in Sport 1 continued his proficiency from 3-point vary. Bogdanovic has shot 11 of 20 from past the arc over his final 4 video games. He’s averaging 22 factors per recreation through the postseason.

— INJURY WATCH: Jazz guard Mike Conley (proper hamstring pressure) and Clippers ahead Serge Ibaka (again spasms) didn’t play in Sport 1.

— PRESSURE IS ON: Clippers ahead Paul George. Though George scored 20 factors in Sport 1, he shot simply 4 of 17 and was just one of 9 on two-point makes an attempt. George has scored at the very least 20 factors in every of his eight playoff video games this yr, however he’s capturing simply 9 of 32 over his final two.

“The very fact of the matter is I didn’t shoot the ball nicely tonight,” George mentioned after Sport 1. “However I’ll have a greater method. I believed I used to be simply indecisive on my method, however I’ll be just a little bit higher in getting the pictures that I would like and taking these pictures that I would like.”

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Extra AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities

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