Nets extend win streak to eight games with statement victory over Bucks

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Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh

BROOKLYN — If anyone had questioned whether the Nets’ turnaround had more to do with the quality of their recent opponents than their play, Brooklyn seemed to clear up that notion against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Against one of the best teams in the NBA, the Nets picked up their eighth consecutive win, the league’s longest active win streak, in a 118-100 win over the Bucks. While Durant had another 20-plus point night, it was the second consecutive game that the Nets had spread the scoring around and six players finished the night in double-digit scoring. 

“I think we were locked in all night on both sides of the ball and was able to get a nice cushion early,” Kevin Durant said. “You know, they’re championship quality team, so they’re gonna fight back and get to the game. We weathered that storm when they cut it to 10 and cut to eight. Was there to make big shots and get big stops and a great team win for us.”

The Nets bent but did not break in the second half as the Bucks wiped away a 23-point advantage for Brooklyn and cut it to 10 by the end of the third quarter. Still, the Nets didn’t let their lead shrink to single digits and held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 10 points in the second half after he had Bucks-leading 16 in the first half.

Kyrie Irving, who had shot just 1-of-9 through three quarters, helped push the lead in the fourth quarter and hit a dagger three with just over three minutes to play in the game to make it a 21-point game.

“Overall, our guys really responded to their run,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn. “And the best part we never panicked at all. I think we were pretty even-keeled throughout the course of the night, great communication in the timeouts and a lot of good from tonight man.”

It was a particularly strong night for Ben Simmons, who seemed to be just about everywhere on the floor, and T.J. Warren, who has continued to take strides since he made his season debut earlier this month. Simmons finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and picked up his third double-double of the season. 

Warren had 12 points, marking the fifth time in his last six games that he’s scored at least 10 points, ad shot 5-of-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point range.

Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton (33) defends against Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in New York.AP Photo/Jessie Alche

O’Neale, who had eight of the Nets’ first 18 points of the night, shot 6-of-9 from the field and Nic Claxton had 17 points and hit his first eight shots of the night. Kevin Durant had 24 points and shot 9-of-17 by the time the final buzzer had sounded.

The victory was the statement win that the Nets had been looking for since they started to right the ship under Jacque Vaughn. Brooklyn has now won 12 of their last 13 games in a complete turnaround from where the year began for the Nets. 

“It’s good for us. It’s good for us to keep stacking days,” Durant said. “We respect Milwaukee and we understand how dominant they’ve been this season. we wanted to come out and we understand that everybody’s watching this game. Everybody came to this game, looked at this as bigger than a regular season game. I think we tried to approach it that way. I know those guys play extremely hard every night. Play physical every night. We just tried to match that.

“They play a playoff-style basketball every game, so it was on us to come out here and match it and play our brand as well.” 

For more Nets coverage, visit amNY.com and our affiliate site at TheBrooklynGame.com


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