The Milwaukee Bucks successfully tied the series 2-2 against the Brooklyn Nets at the Fiserv Forum. They mastered a dominant 107-96 win in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Brooklyn Nets came out of the dressing room locked-in, leading the game 9-2 in the early minutes. With a couple of three-pointers and a ferocious attack on the rim by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks were back in the game.
It was an intense battle as this could go down as one of the most physical games in the 2021 NBA playoffs. However, the Brooklyn Nets cooled off early in the second quarter and could not match the Milwaukee Bucks’ pace.
Regardless, it was a decent outing for the Brooklyn Nets, who managed to stay in the game with two of their superstars sidelined. Based on their performance on the court, here are five reasons why they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.
#1 The Brooklyn Nets were horrible from 3-point range
The Brooklyn Nets continued their poor form from three-point range with another horrific shooting display. The team shot 30.3% from beyond the arc with a lot of wild and hurriedly taken shots.
Joe Harris’ struggle from beyond the arc continued as he converted two out of six attempts. Even with such poor shooting, he made the most three-pointers on the team as Kevin Durant was 1-of-8, while Blake Griffin converted one of four tries.
#2 The Brooklyn Nets turned the ball over one too many times
The Brooklyn Nets have done a great job controlling the ball so far in this series. However, the Milwaukee Bucks came out with renewed intensity on defense and forced the Nets to become reckless with their possessions.
In the first three games of the series, the Brooklyn Nets recorded 23 turnovers. The story was different in Game 4 as the Milwaukee Bucks forced 17 turnovers.
The intensity from the Bucks’ defense was more than what the Nets could handle. They forced the Nets to run down the clock on occasion without getting a shot up.
#3 The Brooklyn Nets had a hard time defending the perimeter
When Giannis Antetokounmpo starts to knock down three-pointers, one can tell the defense is practically non-existent. Any pressure, no matter how small, is enough to rattle the Great Freak to make him miss his shot.
Although he failed to convert with 1-of-5 shooting from downtown, he was in a unique position to punish the Brooklyn Nets.
Where Giannis failed, other members of the Milwaukee Bucks picked up the slack. PJ Tucker, who was scoreless in Game 3, recorded 13 points with 50% shooting from beyond the arc (3-of-6).
Things could have gotten worse for the Brooklyn Nets if the Milwaukee Bucks knocked down as many open looks as they got. The Bucks finished with 16/47 from three-point range, their best in the series so far.
#4 Kyrie Irving’s injury dealt a big blow
Kevin Durant was the only member of the Brooklyn Nets’ power trio on the court after Kyrie Irving left the game with a right ankle sprain in the second quarter. James Harden was sidelined in the first minute of Game 1 after he strained his hamstring and has not featured ever since.
Durant was harassed during the first half, making it difficult for him to score. He had a huge third quarter with Tucker off the court because he got into early foul trouble. Nonetheless, it was not enough to reel his team back into the contest.
Apart from Durant (28 points) and Irving (11 points), no other Brooklyn Nets player hit double-digits. The team lost their sense of urgency and were outclassed on both ends of the court.
#5 PJ Tucker locked down Kevin Durant
PJ Tucker is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and he showed it today. He was brought in by the Milwaukee Bucks for situations like these and he is delivering the goods.
His role in this series is to frustrate Durant and limit his flow on offense, which he has done exceptionally well in the last two games. Although Durant is an elite scorer and can hurt a team in more ways than one, Tucker’s closing down has disrupted his rhythm. He took a lot of forced shots in Game 4 and was nine of 25 from the field (36%).
With no help from either of the power trio, the Brooklyn Nets did not have any other dangerous players to convert even when Durant drew the double-team.