Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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NBA Preview: Milwaukee Bucks (43-17) at Brooklyn Nets (34-26)

The Milwaukee Bucks keep winning despite Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence.

While the Bucks are hopeful that Antetokounmpo will be able to play again after suffering a minor knee injury, they are also excited to have the opportunity to extend the NBA’s longest winning streak to 15 games on Tuesday night when they play the Brooklyn Nets.

Antetokounmpo’s absence leaves Milwaukee 7-5.

In his two previous games, he has played 15 minutes. Antetokounmpo missed six minutes of a 12-point win in Chicago because of a sprained right wrist. He missed nine minutes of a 29-point win over Miami because of a right knee injury in the first quarter.

In a 104-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee outlasted Antetokounmpo and won the kind of game it might play in the playoffs. With big performances from Jrue Holiday and former Net Brook Lopez, the Bucks were able to withstand their star’s absence. For the fourth-longest run in team history, the club matched the 1972-73 team.

Holiday pulled down the crucial steal with 11 seconds remaining against Phoenix’s Devin Booker in addition to scoring 33 points. With 24.8 seconds remaining, Lopez scored 22 points and also made the game-tying layup after receiving a feed from Khris Middleton.

Antetokounmpo has scored 31.9 points per game during the streak, including 50 points against New Orleans on Jan. 29 and 54 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 4 in a comeback victory. Additionally, during the streak, he has scored at least 30 points nine times.

Holiday is averaging 20.2 during the streak and 28.0 over his past four games, in addition to his recent performances.

The Nets had the NBA’s longest season-long winning streak before Milwaukee’s current run, when they won 12 straight games. One of those victories took place on December 23, when Brooklyn shot 49.5% in a 118-100 home victory over the Bucks, who only made 9 of 37 attempts at 3-point shooting.

Following the trades of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets are now trying to figure out their new roster on the fly in order to avoid falling further behind in the race for the playoffs.

Brooklyn has gone 9-14 since Durant’s knee injury and the two stars’ trade requests coincided with the winning streak. Since their home win over the Los Angeles Lakers on January 30 by 17 points, the Nets are also 3-7. They suffered a 129-127 defeat at Atlanta on Sunday and now face Milwaukee before traveling to the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics in three games.

On Sunday, the Nets overcame an 18-point deficit to lose on a Trae Young game-winning shot at the final buzzer. In their 131-87 victory over Chicago on Friday, they scored just 29 points in the first half, leading to their defeat on Sunday.

Cameron Johnson had his best game since joining the Nets in the Durant trade, scoring 27 points against Atlanta. Since the trade, Mikal Bridges has added 24 points and scored 20 points in three games, including a 45-point performance against Miami on February 15.

In the last 26 regular-season meetings, Milwaukee is 20-6.

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