The Brooklyn Nets got a much needed win Friday night at Barclays Center, 104-93 over the worst team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Nets jumped out to a 19-point lead in the second quarter, and although the Bucks cut it to just 9 in the fourth quarter, the Nets held on for a blowout win. Shaun Livingston led the Nets with 20 points, while Mirza Teletovic scored a career high 19 off the bench. Rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16 for Milwaukee.
This was a game the Nets absolutely had to win, coming off a 4-game losing streak and with a very tough 3-game road trip looming. The Bucks at home were just what the Nets needed to snap out of a major funk and they were able to do it in relatively easy and boring fashion, which is what we expected from this team heading into the season. Still, this is just one game and the Nets were not that impressive tonight. If they play as well as they did tonight tomorrow night in Indiana, they will probably lose by 20.
Player grades and notes:
Kevin Garnett: B+
Again, KG played less than 20 minutes because this game was pretty much a blowout, but he was actually effective tonight, scoring in double-digits for the first time in a while and even going to the foul line five times. In previous seasons, none of this would have mattered at all, but this year, this is a great game.
Paul Pierce: B
Pierce was back in the starting lineup tonight and played pretty well against a bad team. He made the right play most of the time and didn’t make many mistakes, scoring 13 points with 4 rebounds and 3 assists, including a rare alley-oop to Kevin Garnett.
Shaun Livingston: A
Livingston got a surprise start and played pretty well, scoring 20 points for the second time this season to go along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds. It is hard to tell if he played well because he was playing alongside Deron Williams and other starters, or if it was because he was playing against the Milwaukee Bucks. I think probably the latter, but I expect him to start again tomorrow. That will be the real test to see if this starting lineup can last.
Deron Williams: B-
Didn’t do anything incredible, but the Nets offense still looks a lot better with Deron in the game. He only had 9 points and 4 assists tonight, but he was a +14.
Mirza Teletovic: A
Despite coming off the bench, Mirza scored a career high 19 points to go along with 6 rebounds in 31 minutes. He shot over 50% from 3, where he made 5 shots, and he even had a nice block on defense. Mirza is definitely in the rotation permanently.
Jason Terry: A-
His job is to shoot and he actually shot well tonight, hitting 4-5 from 3. At this age, that’s all he can do, and he did that tonight.
The Nets now begin an extremely tough 3-game road trip in Indiana, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. They will visit the Pacers tomorrow night and FRWD will have full coverage of the game.