Kyrie Irving was right in one respect: the networks are far from being among the best in the NBA. And on Saturday the leaders showed how far.
The Nets limped halfway through the season, their squad knocked and their confidence was beaten. And it took another hit after a 117-97 loss to the Bucks in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,732 at the Barclays Center, which included former President Bill Clinton.
The Nets dropped their third game in a row and were tenth in the past. The Bucks (38-6) put everyone under pressure and outperformed their opponents by 12.4 points. Saturday was as ugly as expected.
"Thanks to Milwaukee – they play just about everyone else I've seen in this league for some time," said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, who believed that his struggling team needed an elevator and no kick.
"It's a coach's feeling to understand … when it's time to hit the hammer or when it's time to fire, when it's time to put together a team." I have a feeling that it is now necessary to lift these guys, especially given the difficult schedule. It will come back. I thought we played really well in Philly. [Saturday] You almost have to complete a perfect game, and we don't. "
Far from perfect.
The Shorthanded Nets (18-23) had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had game highs of 29 points and 12 rebounds. Khris Middleton added 20 while the networks allowed 50.6 percent of the shots, allowed 25 and were routed.
Irving had a team high of 17 points, six assists, six rebounds and four steals, but only shot 6-of-15. Rookie Nic Claxton was one of the few bright spots with a career high of 14 points and six boards when he stood up for the injured DeAndre Jordan.
"[Irving] didn't take the shot he usually shoots, but they did a great job. creek [Lopez] did a great job there and gave it a hard finish, ”said Antetokounmpo. "He'll be a 20-shot guy, but we have to try to make the stop as best we can." That's exactly what we did and why we could win this easily. "
And it was easy. The Nets played without Jordan, Joe Harris, Garrett Temple and of course Kevin Durant and shot only 33.3 percent and 15-of-49 from the depths. After the Nets were plagued by injuries in the first half of the season, they now want to stay fit in the second season.
"Get well. That's really the most important thing for us – getting well, staying healthy and just seeing where we end up. We'll try to join together as a group," said Irving, who is still convinced of the playoffs "This is a successful season. That is still a goal to make the playoffs.
"It's not like we wrap it up and just say," Hey, let's see. "No, when I say where we are landing, it is at this 6, 7, 8 point. Set a realistic goal in front of you and really pursue it. … So when you get into the All Star break, you want to do these great tests, see what we can learn from them, and go forward. Then after the all-star break, we all get back and I feel that we are in a better place. "
The Nets scored the first goal with 19: 10 points, although Antetokounmpo deviated from the ground.
A Donte DiVincenzo lineup ended the first 30: 22, and the teams mostly played the entire second time. It was still 51-42 after an Irving basket, but the nets coughed the last six points of the half to go to the break at 15.
This deficit swelled in half. It hit 24 when Kyle Korver drilled a corner 3 to make it 90-66 with 1:25 left in the third, and hit 25 in a trash time fourth.
Atkinson and Buck's coach Mike Budenholzer had emptied their benches when Dragan Bender played 5:18 on 106-81.