After Sunday afternoon’s thriller that came down to the final buzzer, Tuesday’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets was one of the most anticipated rematches of the NBA season.
The stars were out during the last matchup between the two Eastern Conference powerhouses. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nets star Kevin Durant got into a scoring duel of epic proportion. Giannis scored a season-high 49 points while KD dropped 42 points as the two All-Stars put on an unforgettable show for NBA fans.
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Nets Don’t Guard Giannis From Three
At the beginning of Tuesday’s game Nets head coach, Steve Nash tried to make a defensive adjustment to how he wanted his team to defend Giannis after getting destroyed by the reigning Most Valuable Player last game.
Giannis historically has not been a consistently good three-point shooter and Nash tried to use that to his team’s advantage. The Nets just straight up were not going past the free throw line to defend ‘The Greek Freak’ and he responded to the Nets disrespect in a big way.
Giannis would go on to hit three shots from beyond the arc in a 21-point first half for the 2021 All-Star Game MVP.
TOO MUCH SPACE. Giannis on fire from 3. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Awt70A2pNZ
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) May 5, 2021
Giannis Acknowledges KD as an All-Time Great
While the Nets and Bucks games may have seemed like a back and forth battle between the two former league MVPs, Giannis insists that is not the message that he is trying to send. Even a player of his caliber knows that getting in a scoring duel with KD is a death sentence.
“I was not going back and forth with KD. KD is one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game, you cannot play that way. If you go back and forth with a guy like that, he is going to score 50, 70, know what I’m saying,” Giannis said to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after the win.
“I just had a lucky night and at the end of the day, I was able to slow him down, get to my spots, kept being aggressive. But this game doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything to me, we play them again in two days. And like I said it’s a team that we are going to see in the playoffs if we want to go to the Finals but we gotta lock-in and come ready whenever we play them.”
Interviewing Giannis after he dropped 49 in the Bucks' win over the Nets – when I asked him about going back-and-forth down the stretch with Kevin Durant (who scored 42 himself), he said he was "lucky," noting "KD is one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game" pic.twitter.com/DzkzSyYyTm
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 3, 2021
Nets Are Gearing up for a Playoff Run
Dress rehearsals will soon be over for the Brooklyn Nets and they will begin suiting up for games that count towards the team winning its first championship. The Nets have just seven games remaining on their schedule which concludes on May 16 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the playoffs nearing the Nets are still without their Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden. Harden has been out since he re-aggravated a hamstring injury on April 5 during a game against the New York Knicks.
The Nets ‘Big 3’ of Harden, Durant, and Kyrie Irving have not played together much as they have only shared the floor for seven games this season. They have a record of 5-2 in those games.
One of the luxuries of having a team that is as loaded with talent as the Nets are is that losing a Most Valuable Player candidate such as Harden is not as big of a deal when you have an additional two All-Stars in your locker room that can contribute just as much offensively.
The Nets’ lengthy road trip rolls along on Thursday when they face off against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks who are scratching to secure a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.