It’s deer hunting season for the Brooklyn Nets this week and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been the sharpshooters that have brought down the Milwaukee Bucks in the first two games of their NBA Playoff Conference Semifinals series.
After winning the opening matchup between the teams 115-107 on Sunday, the Nets were without James Harden, who was injured early in that game.
However, they produced a superb performance of controlled, clinical and at times, spectacular basketball to thrash the Bucks 125-86 in the second game of the series in what was a statement win for the new favorites to become NBA Champions this season.
The result sees the Nets maintain homefield advantage as they head into the first of two consecutive games in Milwaukee on Thursday night with a 2-0 series advantage.
Unexpected Level Of Dominance
Outside of the Philadelphia 76ers, these two teams have been the major forces in the Eastern Conference this season, but the performance by the Nets last night showed a completely unexpected level of dominance.
It started in the first quarter with the Nets exploding out of the blocks with Kevin Durant controlling the tempo of the game. With their offense flowing well, their defense also stepped up meaning that at the end of the first quarter the Bucks trailed by a huge 17 points.
That proved to be the start of a poor night for Milwaukee as the Nets outscored them in all four quarters and by the fourth, they were able to give some of their star men a well-deserved rest.
By the end, the 39-point margin of victory did not flatter the Nets, who will move on to Milwaukee with great confidence, and also with the knowledge that even if James Harden is not yet fit to return, then they still have more than enough talent to get the job done.
Bucks Caught In The Headlights
As brilliant as the Nets were, the Bucks display was a shocker by any standards. They appeared as if they were caught in the headlights, unable to stop the free-flowing attacks of the Nets who seemingly scored at will.
No Bucks player scored over 20 points in this game and their defense showed no discernible understanding of how to stop Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving dominating the game.
That will be a massive concern for coach Mike Budenholzer ahead of what is now a must win double-header of home games.
It’s a best of seven. pic.twitter.com/OeEVbwPuGd
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 8, 2021
Bucks’ Star man Giannis Antetokounmpo was pragmatic stating:
“I don’t get too high, I don’t get too low. After the Miami series, we were up 4-0 and coming to this series, I wasn’t high. Now that we’re down 2-0, I’m not low. I’ just going to keep doing what I’m doing, keep trusting my work, keep trusting my teammates, keep believing in the team, keep believing in the habits we’ve built all year, and hopefully in Game 3 we get a win.”
However, they need a massive improvement, and some tactical tweaking, if they are to have any realistic chance in this series against the Nets.
Suns Eclipse Nuggets With Strong Second Half Display
In the second NBA Playoff Conference Semifinal game last night, the Phoenix Suns took a 1-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets thanks to a 122-105 victory in their opening game.
The Suns kept Nuggets’ dominant center Nikola Jokic quiet, allowing him just 22 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists, while four Suns players all contributed over 20 points.
Mikal Bridges led the way with 23, Devin Booker and Chris Paul contributed 21 and center Deandre Ayton had a big game against Jokic hitting 20 points and landing 10 rebounds.
The game was very close at the half, with just one point between the teams, but the Suns increased that to 11 points by the end of the third quarter.
They then remained in control in the fourth, scoring 34 points to the Nuggets 26 to ease to victory.
Chris Paul was the dominant figure in the game for the Suns and they will be hoping that their star man can maintain this form throughout the playoffs after a season in which his performance levels have fluctuated considerably.
The two teams will meet again in Phoenix on Wednesday before heading to Denver for the next two games in the series.