On Wednesday night, the Nets defeated the Milwaukee Bucks by a final score of 97-94.
The Skinny: Brandon Jennings picked up where he left off Tuesday night, scoring 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting as part of a 23-7 Bucks’ run to establish a 12-point lead early. Milwaukee missed its first three shots but then proceeded to make 10 straight from the field. Ersan Ilyasova added 10 points and six rebounds in the opening frame, but the Nets cut the lead to eight after one.
The Nets had a sloppy start to the second quarter, but C.J. Watson’s three-point stroke helped Brooklyn get back to within three as part of a 9-0 run. But the Bucks immediately followed with a 6-0 run to go back up nine. Jennings did not miss a shot in the first half, as his 18 points led Milwaukee to a 12-point lead at the break.
The Bucks increased the lead to 15 in the opening minutes of the third, but a 9-2 Nets’ run got Brooklyn to within five. But Jennings was still unconscious from the outside, as a three-pointer again put the Bucks up 10. Andray Blatche capitalized on a few buckets in the paint late in the quarter to get the Nets within eight after three.
MarShon Brooks gave the Nets an instant jolt of offense early in the fourth quarter, as an 11-0 run gave Brooklyn its first lead since 4-2. Monta Ellis later converted on back-to-back field goals to tie the game at 81, but a Keith Bogans three put the Nets back ahead. Blatche later hit a mid-range floater to put the Nets up by eight, and a Deron Williams’ three increased the lead to 11. The Bucks then went on a 9-0 run to get within two with less than 30 seconds to play. Watson put the Nets back up four with a tough interior basket. Jennings hit a running layup, and then he slapped the ball away from Williams on the in-bound pass. After official review, the Nets retained possession, and Williams split a pair of free-throws to go up three. Ellis was fouled by Williams behind the three-point arc but missed all three free-throw attempts to close out the game.
High Scorers: Jennings led all scorers with 31 points on 12-of-18 from the field and dished out 11 assists for the double-double. For the Nets, Williams led the way with 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting and had eight dimes.
Key Stats: On the night after the Nets’ bench outscored the Bucks’ bench 44-15 in Tuesday’s win, the “Bench Mob” outscored Milwaukee’s bench in this one, 47-24 – including 21 points in the fourth quarter. The Bucks shot an abysmal 7-of-22 from the field in fourth quarter.
Who Was Hot: Watson shot 7-of-11 from the field for 17 points, made three three-pointers and had six assists. Blatche notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Ilyasova recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Larry Sanders also had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds and blocked five shots.
Who Was Not: Brook Lopez shot just 3-of-13 for nine points and had only one rebounds. Joe Johnson was 3-of-14 from the field for eight points after his heroic night Tuesday. Ellis shot 5-of-15 for the Bucks and accounted for six of Milwaukee’s 17 turnovers.
Fun Fact: The Nets are now 10-0 this season when the bench scores 40-plus points.
Jim Mancari, ContributorThe Nets got off to a slow start in all facets of the game in this one, but they picked up the pace both offensively and defensively when it counted – in the fourth quarter.
Brooklyn kept hanging around and eventually was able to take the lead late. Things got a little too close for comfort, but this is a huge win to sweep the tough home-and-home series with the Bucks. The victory snaps a six-game losing streak for the Nets in Milwaukee dating back to March 3, 2009.
Williams put forth a huge effort on a night where Johnson and Lopez had trouble from the outside. Watson was also on target in this one.
Again, Lopez found himself on the bench in the fourth quarter. He was extremely cold from the field in this one, so P.J. Carlesimo’s decision was warranted. But for this team to keep taking strides forward, Lopez will need to be a contributor in fourth quarters.
The “Bench Mob” again came up huge for the Nets. During the current four-game winning streak, the bench has averaged 37.3 points per game.
Brooklyn (33-22) returns home Friday night to take on the Houston Rockets. The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.