On March 31 the Brooklyn Nets went head to head with the Milwaukee Bucks in what many fans are penning as a potential NBA playoff preview. Although they led for most of the game, the Nets allowed the Bucks to close out the 4th quarter on a 7-0 run. This included a clutch step-back three-pointer by Giannis Antetokounmpo that forced overtime in the final seconds, where the Bucks would secure a 120-119 victory over the Nets. Antetokounmpo was the star of the night, as he became the Bucks’ all-time leading scorer, surpassing Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a 44 point, 14 rebound, and 6 assist performance.
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Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant Call Out ‘Reckless’ Bucks
As shown by the narrow margin of victory, the Nets and Bucks game was physical from the start. But two key plays in the 4th quarter and overtime were the most eye-opening. In the 4th quarter Nets’ forward, Bruce Brown was going up for a fast-break dunk when Bucks’ star Khris Middleton went up for the block and Brown came crashing down on his shoulder. Middleton was accessed a flagrant 2 penalty and sent to the locker room early. The Bucks are known for having a physical style of play, but Nets star Kyrie Irving feels that they played a bit reckless at times.
“They were playing pretty physical,” Irving said per NetsDaily. “I think they were a little reckless at times just on a lot of their fouls — or a few of their fans, I don’t want to say a lot of their fouls — that’s who they are. But I just think it was just reckless sometimes.”
The other play came in overtime, which was one of the scariest moments of the year for Nets fans. Nets star Kevin Durant was going up for a three-pointer in the overtime period when he got fouled by Bucks guard Wesley Matthews, who was attempting to block his shot. Matthews however, did not give Durant a chance to land, and as a result, the two-time NBA Finals MVP twisted his ankle badly and did not get up immediately. Like his co-star Irving, Durant believes that it was yet another reckless play by the Bucks.
“I mean, we all thought that was reckless right? I think technically, I have to be in the air and if I come down on his foot, then that’s a flagrant. He came running into my leg a split second before,” Durant said of the foul per NetsDaily. “As I was coming down, I might have hit the floor and when I hit the floor, he came running at my leg. It wasn’t a contest. I thought it was supposed to be flagrant. Technically, I didn’t make the correct play to make it a flagrant.”
Durant Credits Loss To Free Throw Discrepancy
When Durant got fouled on that three-point attempt in overtime they were his first free throw attempts in the entire game. The Bucks shot 28 free throws in comparison to just 11 for the Nets. Durant believes that the discrepancy at the free-throw line is what played the biggest role in the game’s result.
“I don’t think it was one of those games where they dominated us. Downhill, they had 28 free throws. We got 11. We had 31 assists. 16 turnovers to their 22. It wasn’t really a turnover battle. They got the call downhill being aggressive to the rim, and I think that was the game: more free throws than us,” Durant said per NetsDaily.
The Nets and Bucks could end up in a playoff rematch depending on where both teams end up in the final standings. But the Nets have much more to do to secure a spot in the playoffs as they will likely have to compete in the play-in tournament.