The Milwaukee Bucks came right back to tie the series against the Brooklyn Nets at two games apiece. They recorded back-to-back home wins in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. The Bucks trailed for the first 17 minutes of the game and then never gave up their lead once they got it in the second quarter. The Brooklyn Nets didn’t respond to the Milwaukee Bucks’ run as one of their stars, Kyrie Irving, went down with an injury in the third period.
Irving was ruled out for the rest of the game and Kevin Durant couldn’t get it done on his own. However, the Milwaukee Bucks found their shooting stroke in this game. The crowd erupted with joy as the Bucks sunk five threes in the first quarter itself after struggling from beyond the arc in the first three games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but he wasn’t the main story as PJ Tucker’s exploits in the game made all the highlights.
Giannis Antetokounmpo reflects on PJ Tucker’s contributions to the new-look Milwaukee Bucks
ESPN analyst Rachel Nichols asked Giannis Antetokounmpo about the latest addition to the Milwaukee Bucks, PJ Tucker and his impact on the game. The two-time MVP responded,
“It’s big..He keeps playing hard, keeps making everything tough for KD. He’s vocal, he’s a leader, he pushes us to be great. He’s definitely a big piece of this organisation and he’s going to keep helping us and we’ll definitely need him moving forward”
PJ Tucker was added midway through the season and has been a great pickup for the Milwaukee Bucks. His speciality is defense and he proudly did his job today guarding Kevin Durant. Whenever Durant was guarded by Tucker, he was held to 25% shooting compared to 47% when guarded by anyone else.
Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash certainly wasn’t pleased with Tucker roughhousing his superstar player. He said after the game,
“I thought it was borderline non-basketball physical at times.”
However, PJ Tucker also contributed offensively with 13 points. He hit two key three-pointers from the corner that was part of a 19-4 run by the Milwaukee Bucks in an attempt to regain the lead.
Steve Nash talks about Kyrie Irving’s injury and the Brooklyn Nets facing adversity all year long
Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving left at the midway mark of the third quarter. He suffered a right ankle sprain due to an awkward landing on top of Giannis’ foot. Irving was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the match.
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash mentioned that the X-ray came back negative and further spoke about the injury. He was asked if it served as a gut punch to his men and they were lethargic after seeing another star leave the court. He said,
“We’ll have to see how it goes tomorrow with further tests and treatment. We obviously lost a great player during the game which was tough….I don’t know. Maybe that was in play a little bit but we didn’t execute really well and I think that was the gut punch. We had a hard time executing offensively…couldn’t get our mojo going.”
Nash reiterated his point on the defensive breakdown. The Milwaukee Bucks had already gained a lead before the injury took place and then the Brooklyn Nets players just lost confidence. The transition breakdown was particularly hurtful as the Brooklyn Nets, usually a great team in transition, were outscored 26-6 in transition. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored or assisted on 17 of those points.
Steve Nash spoke about how the Brooklyn Nets have faced injuries all season long and can certainly make adjustments for Game 5 at Barclays Center. They aren’t new to the position they’re in and will get better. He said,
“…we missed him obviously but it was big adjustment tonight to play without him and James but you know, we’ve had that type of year so we have got to figure it out, to look at the tape and get better…But it’s never going to be easy, its the playoffs, We’re going to face adversity. We’ve got to allow the adversity to make us stronger instead of hanging our heads.”
Nash further added that Kyrie Irving’s injury didn’t trigger a James Harden return, suggesting their return timelines would be handled separately. He said,
“I think it’s an independent case. I don’t want James to be rushed back”
The Brooklyn Nets host the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center for Game 5 on Tuesday.
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