Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash attributed his team’s latest loss to the Milwaukee Bucks to a lack of continuity and “common experiences” among his players.
The Nets lost their second consecutive game to the Bucks, 124-118, on Tuesday after falling to them 117-114 on Sunday. The losses cost the Nets crucial points in the Eastern Conference standings, where they hold the second seed to the Bucks’ third, but Milwaukee claimed the head-to-head tiebreaker with the two most recent wins.
The Nets were already set up for success with the returning duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but adding James Harden at the start of the year turned them into the beginnings of a superteam. Adding Blake Griffin after he was bought out by the Detroit Pistons only helped fuel those conversations.
But the superstar trio hasn’t had the opportunity to grow together, having only played seven games in the same lineup because of absences for various reasons. Most recently, Harden hasn’t played since April 7 amid a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury.
The Bucks lost some big names in the offseason, moving Eric Bledsoe and George Hill in trades and seeing Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews move on in free agency. But their new pickups, Bryn Forbes and Jrue Holiday, have been major factors in the team’s late push for the top seeds.
On Tuesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to show he has a serious case for his third MVP award by dropping 36 points and 12 rebounds, while Khris Middleton and Holiday both added 23. Forbes logged 14 off the bench.
Conversely, Irving’s 38 points paced the Nets, who also looked to 32 from Kevin Durant. But they didn’t have as much depth behind them, with Joe Harris the next leading scorer with 12 points.
If the Nets want to make it to the NBA Finals, they’ll have to make it past the Bucks in what is bound to be a marquee postseason matchup.