The Brooklyn Nets are a vastly different team on December 27th than anyone could have ever imagined, but even in a mess of a situation, the Nets came together to break a 4-game losing streak with a 104-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Shaun Livingston (yes, that Shaun Livingston) led the way for Brooklyn with 20 points (on 6-11 shooting), 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, but it was the defense of the Nets that helped them snap the unfortunate string of losses. The Bucks shot just 37.5% from the floor and 28.1% from 3-point range in the game, further illustrating their lack of offensive firepower, but shooting that poor is almost always accompanied by solid defense in the NBA, and that was the case here.
Brooklyn started Livingston alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a “small ball” frontcourt, and for once this season, a Jason Kidd tactic seemed to work. Still, Milwaukee is one of the worst teams in the NBA (despite their rather large payroll), and all 5 players who attempted 11+ shots for the Bucks failed to reach even 42% shooting on those attempts. Throw in an ugly 0-for-7 day from Caron Butler off the bench, and it’s easy to see why they struggled to light up the scoreboard.
This season has gone from “title contender” to “possible lottery team” (the Hawks are rooting for this, mind you) in Brooklyn, but at the very least, Friday night provides a glimmer of hope for a new-look team. The loss of Brook Lopez is a massive one, but if they can move forward with a smaller, faster approach and get something from Pierce and Garnett, maybe things can swing around for the Nets.