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70° Good Afternoon

Winless Nets fall short in loss to Bucks

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez grabs a rebound

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez grabs a rebound against Milwaukee Bucks center Johnny O'Bryant IIIstad and Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Bill Clinton was in the house at Barclays Center on Monday night, sitting courtside with Bucks owner Marc Lasry and watching a pair of winless teams duke it out.

The Nets certainly didn't leave him with many positive memorable moments.

Doomed by a game-ending 9-0 run and an inability to hit a clutch shot late, the Nets dropped another one in frustrating fashion, losing to Milwaukee, 103-96.

Brook Lopez had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Nets (0-4), but was plagued by foul trouble in the fourth quarter. Jarrett Jack had 15 points, but turned the ball over five times.

Joe Johnson, who averaged 7.7 points through the first three games and had been struggling mightily shooting 31 percent from the floor, couldn't get it going again and finished with 14 points -- and probably laments a missed step-back jumper with 2:24 left that could have broken a deadlock at 96. His stroke was still a bit yo-yo like and it certainly didn't look like he would bust out of his shooting slump when he had all the time in the world to line up a wide-open second quarter three-pointer from the left corner and wound up hitting the top of the backboard.

Jerryd Bayless led the Bucks (1-3) with 26 points, pestering the Nets with his outside shot all night by knocking down 6 of 10 three-pointers. Greg Monroe added 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 21 points and snatched eight rebounds while creating more than his share of "oohs" and "ahhs" with his skills.

Fully erasing an 11-point third-quarter deficit and squaring things up at 80 on Andrea Bargnani's old school three-point play heading into the fourth, the Nets were still right there at the end, grabbing the lead twice in the final 3:24 as Lopez sat on the bench with five fouls. But Milwaukee regained the lead for good on Khris Middleton's fallaway jumper with 1:13 remaining. Michael Carter-Williams hit one of two free throws with 31.7 seconds left to push the Nets' deficit to three, and Jarrett Jack's floater on the Nets' ensuing possession following a timeout came up extremely short, sending the Nets to yet another rough ending.

All the things that have been troubling the Nets in the season's early going crept up again at some point against the Bucks, directly resulting in yet another up-and-down performance. Inconsistent defense. Poor three-point shooting. Stagnant ball movement. Turnovers.

As a team short on talent, those are all areas they can't afford to fall short in because they don't have enough firepower to consistently overcome the sloppy errors and untimely mistakes.

Although Milwaukee didn't have Jabari Parker, who was medically cleared to play and is expected to be available when these two teams collide again in Milwaukee in four days, the Bucks still gave the Nets plenty of fits with their athleticism, length, speed and quickness.

Antetokounmpo was a handful, wreaking havoc with his 7-3 wingspan. He posted 19 points through the first three quarters and made things especially challenging on the interior, blocking one shot but altering many more to make the Nets think twice before attacking the rim.


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