Just two days after being publicly embarrassed in a disastrous loss to their crosstown rival, the Brooklyn Nets responded with a much better performance in a 90-82 road win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brook Lopez pulsed the win for the Nets with 32 points (on 11 for 13 shooting), 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, as the big man reminded everyone of just how dominant he can be offensively. Lopez’s efficiency in this game was clear (he also shot 10 of 11 from the free throw line), but the fact that he simply took advantage of a huge size disparity is encouraging, and the fact that Jason Kidd seemed to force-feed the ball to the post is always a good sign.
In support of Lopez, Brooklyn got a quality defensive effort, and some encouraging play from their makeshift wing combination. Alan Anderson got the start alongside Joe Johnson on the wing (in the absence of Paul Pierce), and the two combined for 28 points to shoulder some of the load from Lopez. In all fairness, they didn’t face a ton of resistance from the admittedly struggling Bucks, but the much-publicized depth from the Nets hasn’t shown up much this season, and that’s a net positive.
On the Milwaukee side, this is a bad, bad loss. Many people believe that the Bucks are currently the worst team in the NBA, and this showing didn’t do anything to dissuade that. As a team, they shot just 41% from the field and they didn’t help themselves by shooting 68% from the free throw line. Moreover, the Bucks seemingly had no answer for Lopez, and the fact that they dropped a home team to the short-handed (and suffering) Nets isn’t a great sign for the future.
It will be tempting for some to give Brooklyn credit for a “big” road win here, but I think it would be wise to slow the parade down. Wins are important, even in the hilarious Eastern Conference, but beating Milwaukee in any venue isn’t impressive, and the Nets have a long way to go.