After the Milwaukee Bucks received their championship rings on opening night it was time to get right back to work against their budding rivals in the Brooklyn Nets. After capturing their first title since 1971 many were interested to see if the Bucks would have the same hunger that they have had over the last few seasons or if they would become complacent after reaching the mountaintop. The Bucks trounced the Nets 127-104 in a statement victory.
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Giannis Turns Heads With Block on Nic Claxton
Reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo was locked in from the opening tip last night. He picked up right where he left off in last year’s NBA Finals finishing with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists in the victory.
While Giannis had many noteworthy moments in the victory, the most notable one came against Nets starting center Nic Claxton. In the first half Claxton tried to dunk on Antetokounmpo which caused a meeting at the rim between the two big men. As you might have expected Giannis annihilated his shot at the rim with a highlight block.
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Steve Nash Reacts to Nets Opening Night Loss
Many people expected that the Nets would struggle some without Kyrie Irving, but no one imagined that they would get run out of the gym by the Bucks on opening night. But even though Brooklyn is without their star point guard, Nets head coach Steve Nash won’t paint that as a reason for the loss. For him, the biggest issue was his team being outworked by the Bucks.
“It wasn’t good obviously. I thought we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. Probably not as physical as we needed to be. As organized as we needed to be,” Nash told reporters after the loss per NetsDaily. “At the same time, the one thing that disappointed me more than anything was loose balls, hustle plays. They seemed to win them all.”
One of the Nets’ few bright spots on the night was their free agency pick-up, Patty Mills. He went a perfect 7-7 from the three-point line and finished with 21 points off of the bench in the loss. A performance that Nash was impressed by.
“His shooting was exceptional but more so just the energy, the IQ, the experience and he plays intelligently. He’s able to complement his teammates so well. He just has that experience,” Nash said of Mills. “We know the shooting and skill but his attitude, competitiveness, the pace, the way he’s able to complement his teammates is exceptional as well.”
James Harden Reacts to Loss to Bucks
As bad as their opening night loss to the Bucks might look there is no reason to hit the panic button on Brooklyn yet. Nets’ star James Harden acknowledges the Bucks as a really good team, and he knows that although it might take some time the Nets will eventually get to that level.
“We played against a very good team. They’ve been together for a few years now. They’re the defending champions, so we know what level we got to get to. We will get to that level,” Harden said after the loss per NetsDaily. “It’s game 1 of a new season. We’re excited about the season. This might have made us more exciting because there’s a level that we got to get to that we’re not even close (to). It is what it is.”
Though it is just one game, with each loss that the Nets suffer, the need for Kyrie Irving to return to the team will be magnified. But the Nets won’t have much time to pout about their opening night loss. They have a matchup with another Eastern Conference powerhouse in their next game against the Philadelphia 76ers.