The Nets Annihilated The Bucks By A 39-Point Margin To Take A 2-0 Series Lead

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Despite the (very) early loss of James Harden to a hamstring injury, the Brooklyn Nets picked up a comfortable Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday evening. Harden was ruled out for Game 2 but, even without a top-tier player, the Nets had absolutely no trouble taking a 2-0 lead in the series on Monday night. In fact, Brooklyn wasn’t challenged in the slightest, taking a big lead almost immediately and putting on a show with a 125-86 win.
The Nets drew first blood, taking a lead in the early going as the Bucks scuffled offensively to the tune of 7-20 shooting, including 1-of-9 from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Brooklyn used a 10-2 run to take a double-digit lead late in the quarter and, while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 15 quick points to lead the way, they weren’t alone, with Blake Griffin getting into the action with a throwback dunk.

So Blake can still fly…
(via @NBAonTNT)
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021

KD iso vs. Giannis… nasty. @NBAonTNT |
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021

Kyrie hits the brakes @TSN_Sports |
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021

The Nets led by a 17-point margin at the end of the opening period, taking control of the proceedings. Brooklyn shot 61 percent from the floor, including 4-of-7 from three, and Durant put the punctuation mark on a dominant quarter with a triple on the final possession.

KD swishes a 3 to end the 1Q
Nets are rolling
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 8, 2021

Even with Durant and Irving on the bench to begin the second quarter, the Nets carried over their success to the tune of a 12-2 run dating back to the first period. That gave Brooklyn a 22-point lead after 14 minutes of action, and that eventually grew to as many as 27 points in the first half. Adding insult to injury, Griffin delivered another dunk from the way-back machine.

Blake dunks on Giannis’ head @NBA |
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021

The Nets led by 24 points at the break, using 21 points from Durant and a 58 percent shooting clip to send quite a message. In contrast, the Bucks shot 43 percent with nine turnovers and, even with a strong half from Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee’s attack didn’t leave a mark on the potentially vulnerable Brooklyn defense.
Most of the third quarter was relatively neutral, with the Bucks playing the Nets to a virtual draw. While that wasn’t enough to make a dent, Milwaukee trailed by 21 with two minutes to go in the third quarter and, theoretically, the Bucks were one run away from making things interesting. Instead, Brooklyn zoomed to a 10-1 run to close the period, building a 30-point lead behind stellar play from Durant, Mike James and others.

Mike James wasn’t in the league a month ago. Now he’s doing this in the playoffs
(via @BrooklynNets)
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021

KD vs. Giannis. Goodness @NBAonTNT |
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021

There was no remaining doubt as the fourth quarter arrived but, before the stars left the floor for the Nets, Irving provided more fireworks. He scored six points in 18 seconds to push the lead from 27 to 33, and Irving’s buckets came with his trademark flair.

Kyrie transition 3
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 8, 2021

Once the benches emptied for both teams, Brooklyn extended its advantage to as many as 49 points before the final buzzer mercifully arrived. All told, the Nets shot 52 percent from the floor and 50 percent (21-of-42) from three-point range in the blowout win, even without Harden on the floor. Durant led the team with 32 points in 33 minutes, with Irving adding 22 points in support.
For the Bucks, this was a catastrophic performance and one that will almost certainly embolden critics of both the team’s core players and head coach Mike Budenholzer. While it could be explained away as a one-game blip, Milwaukee will now face even more scrutiny before Game 3 arrives on Thursday. The Bucks will be in a virtual must-win scenario in their first home game of the series, and given what transpired at Barclays Center on Monday, the Nets have to feel (very) good about their standing in this matchup.