Milwaukee and Brooklyn are each coming off a stunning victory over a top opponent and will try to keep the momentum going when the Bucks visit the Nets on Thursday. Milwaukee occasionally shows glimpses of being a contender in the East and put it all together with a 118-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday while Brooklyn outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers 127-122 in double overtime.
The Bucks hung with the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors while losing close games recently and felt like they were close to breaking through. “Because we’re a young team, we have to learn how to open the door and get in,” star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo told reporters. “We’ve got to do it. In this game, we did what we had to do to get the win.” The Nets are learning how to open the door as well and snapped a seven-game slide, which began with a 127-95 loss at the Clippers, by overcoming a 20-point deficit in the final 14 minutes of regulation. Shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick scored 31 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and the overtimes and added 14 rebounds.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), YES (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (8-8): Antetokounmpo scored 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting and added 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks in Tuesday’s win. The 21-year-old is taking control of the young team, and coach Jason Kidd is seeing progress. “I think it’s a matter of us trusting one another and playing as a team,” Kidd told reporters. “For a young team, sometimes that takes time. We want to put it in the microwave, but if you’re patient enough with the process, it will come. I think it’s great for a coach because they’ve just raised the bar. They’ve shown they can do it for 48 minutes.”
ABOUT THE NETS (5-12): Kilpatrick is a streaky scorer and is on one of his binges of late, averaging 24.8 points in the last four games after putting up 9.8 in the previous six contests. “Sean, I think, was 2-for-10, and I‘m sitting over there saying, ’ Wow, he is really struggling. Do we get him out or what?'” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters of Kilpatrick’s slow start and hot finish on Tuesday. “Sean kept at it and kept competing, got a few shots to fall and he started rolling. He did a great job.” Kilpatrick is getting a chance to start with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) and Jeremy Lin (hamstring) out of the lineup and logged a team-high 47 minutes on Tuesday.
1. Hollis-Jefferson was close to being available as a reserve on Tuesday and could be ready by Thursday while Lin still does not have a definitive timetable.
2. Bucks reserve SF Michael Beasley is 13-of-19 from the field in the last two games.
3. Milwaukee beat Brooklyn at home 110-108 on Oct. 29 to push its winning streak in the series to five straight.
PREDICTION: Bucks 121, Nets 106