Brook Lopez Comes Up Big As Bucks Edge Short-Handed Nets 118-113

Brook Lopez Comes Up Big As Bucks Edge Short-Handed Nets 118-113


Brook Lopez Comes Up Big As Bucks Edge Short-Handed Nets 118-113

On Thursday night, Brook Lopez delivered a stunning performance to propel the Milwaukee Bucks to an 118-113 win against the Brooklyn Nets despite playing without their starting center. His career-high nine blocks also helped Milwaukee improve to 19-3 over its past 20 games, helping them take control of their destiny at 19-3 overall.

The Nets were without Nic Claxton (right thumb sprain/left Achilles tendinopathy), Spencer Dinwiddie (rest) and Cam Johnson (right knee soreness), but were able to count on strong performances from Patty Mills, Dru Smith and David Duke Jr. on two-way contracts that allow them to alternate between Brooklyn and the NBA G League.

Brook Lopez had 24 points and 10 rebounds

On his return from an illness that had kept him out for eight games, Brook Lopez came up big for the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds as they held off a shorthanded Nets squad 118-113 on Thursday night. Even without star player Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks managed their 19th victory of the season.

In the opening half, the Bucks trailed by 22 points but took control after intermission with a commanding 66-42 lead. They shot 53.5 percent from the field and made 19 of their 40 three-point attempts for a season high 66 percent shooting percentage.

After going without a basket for nearly six minutes in the third quarter, Khris Middleton scored 18 points off the bench to give Milwaukee an early 70-61 lead. With five minutes left in regulation time, Milwaukee had built up a 20-point cushion before Brooklyn rallied within 93-86.

But the Bucks rallied with a 14-2 run, highlighted by Lopez's tip-in at the buzzer, to secure their fourth victory in five games and move into second place in the East - just one game behind Miami Heat for home-court advantage in the first round of playoffs. With this victory, Milwaukee has now moved into second place overall and can claim second place for home court advantage throughout that first round if necessary.

It was the third time this season the Bucks had won without key players like Jrue Holiday or Grayson Allen. Their average margin of victory has increased to 116 points, which is the most in the NBA this season.

On Tuesday night, the Bucks held an opponent under 100 points for a franchise record third time this season. Their streak of not losing games when trailing by at least 20 points dates back to April 18 against the Phoenix Suns; that loss marked their first appearance under that mark since then.

Meanwhile, the Nets were without their top three scorers, including James Harden who is still recovering from an early injury and will miss Game 2 of this series. Additionally, four of their key players -- Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton, Cam Johnson and Royce O'Neale -- were rested as well.

Jacque Vaughn's decision to limit Mikal Bridges and Joe Harris in the second half proved pivotal for his team as they went on a bench-driven offensive spree that produced 98 points - an NBA bench record! Vaughn maintains that this bench played a pivotal role in helping his team remain in the series.

Khris Middleton added 18 points off the bench

Khris Middleton came through for the Bucks in Game 4 against Brooklyn, scoring 18 points off the bench and hitting seven of Milwaukee's eight 3-pointers as they rallied to defeat the Nets 118-113 on Thursday night.

The Bucks' winning streak has now reached 21-2, keeping them atop the Eastern Conference standings and poised for a potential first-round series sweep against Boston Celtics.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee's balanced scoring attack with 30 points, while Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton each added 18 points off the bench in their win against the shorthanded Nets. The Bucks shot 48 percent from the field in this win, giving them a commanding three-game lead in the series.

Cam Thomas scored 21 points off the bench, Dru Smith had 17 and Patty Mills added 22 to a losing effort for the Nets, who have lost four of their last five games. On the other hand, Milwaukee outscored Brooklyn 66-42 in the second half to secure an easy victory.

However, Milwaukee wasn't at their best in this game and had to come from a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter to take control. They trailed 74-65 after three quarters but used an 11 point lead late in the fourth quarter, giving Brooklyn one last chance for redemption.

On Friday afternoon, coach Mike Budenholzer provided no new information regarding when Middleton will be ready to play in the Bucks' next two games of their first-round series against the Boston Celtics. With no certainty in sight, Middleton remains uncertain for both contests.

Middleton's future prospects appear promising. He plans on representing USA Basketball at the Tokyo Olympics, starting next month, but that won't interfere with Milwaukee's pursuit of a title.

Middleton had been originally expected to play with a non-COVID illness on Thursday morning but his status was downgraded due to right hand soreness. He suffered the sprain on Feb. 16 but has not missed a game since.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a season-high 33 points

The Milwaukee Bucks have won nine of their last 10 games after welcoming Giannis Antetokounmpo back for Tuesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets. He scored 33 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as Milwaukee cruised to a 118-113 win, led by Jrue Holiday's 14 points and Khris Middleton's 18 off the bench as Milwaukee moved past Boston Celtics for the NBA's best record at 41-17.

Lopez had an outstanding first half, scoring 15 of his 24 points and hitting four 3-pointers to secure his fifth double-double this season. Additionally, he pulled down 10 rebounds and made two assists.

He scored 17 points in the third quarter, but only hit four of his seven shots from the field and had six turnovers. With an average of 17.8 points and 6.9 rebounds for nearly 30 minutes per game this season, that's not a great percentage for someone with such a limited playing time.

Antetokounmpo had a difficult start against the Nets' defense in the first quarter, having five turnovers and failing to score a point in the opening eight minutes of the second.

However, he came back with a bang in the third. He went on a 9-0 run to take control of the game and put Milwaukee up 65-50. Then he threw down an incredible dunk that set up a 3-point play and an easy bucket for Carter (22 points).

Antetokounmpo scored at least 20 points twice this season, including his best shooting performance of the year. Additionally, he hit 8-of-12 from the free-throw line and had two steals.

Antetokounmpo's biggest moment came in the fourth, when he broke his team's record for career assists with his second assist of the night. Additionally, he hit a key 3-pointer with his third assist and then drove home a driving layup to help Milwaukee pull away from Chicago.

With his record-setting game against the Bucks on Thursday night, Antetokounmpo passed Junior Bridgeman for most games played by a Bucks player with 711; he also passed Corey Magette in terms of points scored per game and is only one point away from breaking Pressey's career assists record of 3,272. Unfortunately for him and the Bulls, they suffered an 112-100 defeat against their rivals before that.

The Bucks outscored Brooklyn 66-42 in the second half

On Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 118-113 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets. It was an important win for the Bucks, who entered the game with the best record in the NBA and have now equaled their season-old mark.

The Bucks began slowly but found their rhythm after the first quarter. They held Brooklyn to just two points in the second quarter and then used a 14-4 third-quarter run to tie things up at 68. With 16:53 left in the fourth quarter, Milwaukee took control with six players scoring on offense.

Khris Middleton scored 18 points off the bench, while Giannis Antetokounmpo added a season-high 33 points. Brook Lopez had 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Jrue Holiday chipped in with 14 points and eight assists.

In addition to their impressive showing in the paint, the Bucks were effective defenders against the Nets, holding them to just 44 points in the second half. Furthermore, they outrebounded New York 55-38 and shot 60% from the field during the final quarter.

Brooklyn, which went 3-8 in February, sought to snap its three-game losing streak and move into a tie for fifth place with the New York Knicks. Unfortunately, after falling to Golden State 91-85 on Wednesday night, guard Ben Simmons (left knee soreness), forward Edmond Sumner (personal) and forward Yuta Watanabe (back tightness) had to miss action.

It took the Bucks some time to gel, but they never let up and quickly built an 11-point lead in the third quarter. Additionally, they held Brooklyn to just 2-for-11 shooting from the field in the opening six minutes of play of that period.

For nine minutes in the first half, the Bucks scored nine points off three Brooklyn turnovers. They also hit eight of their 12 three-pointers to demonstrate that they aren't afraid to shoot from long range.

In the first half, they shot 9 of 22 from beyond the arc; however, they opened the second with an impressive 14-for-32 performance from behind that arc. Portis especially stood out with his 20-footer that kicked off a stunning 14-for-32 run early on that never let up.

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