Massive underdog Nets beat Bucks 119-116 as Giannis rests throughout the second half

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Nick Bromberg
·3 min read
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The Brooklyn Nets pulled off an improbable win on Tuesday with a 119-116 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

OK, maybe it wasn’t as improbable as it could have been. The Bucks, comfortably occupying the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, rested likely MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo and Khris Middleton during the second half. Both players played just 16 minutes throughout the entire game.

But the game was a huge upset, at least according to pregame betting lines. The Nets were 18.5-point underdogs entering the game and scored the biggest regular-season NBA upset in at least 27 years based on pregame point spreads.

The win wasn’t a fluke either. The Nets led for most of the game and with Brooklyn up nine at halftime, the Bucks and coach Mike Budenholzer let bench players get a lot of the crunch time minutes late in the game as Giannis cheered them on from the sideline.

The Nets (32-35) were missing a ton of their best players too. Brooklyn entered the NBA’s bubble restart without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and played the game without Caris LeVert and Joe Harris.

The Nets’ starting five consisted of Lance Thomas, Rodions Kurucs, Garrett Temple, Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

Luwawu-Caborrot led all scorers with 26 points. It was his second game with 20 or more points since the NBA’s restart; Luwawu-Caborrot had 24 points in the Nets’ 10-point loss to Orlando on Friday.

The Bucks (54-14) are 5.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the top playoff seed in the East. The Bucks have five seeding games remaining and the Raptors have six, meaning the only way Toronto can catch Milwaukee is if the Raptors win all six of their remaining games and the Bucks lose all five.

Garrett Temple (17) de los Nets de Brooklyn tras embocar un triple ante los Bucks de Milwaukee, el martes 4 de agosto de 2020, en Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (AP Foto/Ashley Landis)
Garrett Temple (17) had 19 points on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Temple said after the game that the team got some advice on how to beat the Bucks from James Harden and the Rockets at the pool after the Rockets beat the Bucks on Sunday night. While those pointers might have helped the Nets, the lack of Antetokoumpo in the second half probably helped a little more.

Nets aiming for 7th seed

As of now, the Nets are lined up to be the Bucks’ opponent in the first round of the playoffs as Brooklyn is a half-game back of the Magic for the seventh seed. A first-round series against a Milwaukee not resting its best players isn’t likely to go too well for a shorthanded Nets team that played a 39-year-old Jamal Crawford for five minutes on Tuesday until he had a hamstring problem.

An opening series against the Raptors probably wouldn’t go too well either if the Nets get the No. 7 seed. But that was the realistic best-case scenario for Brooklyn before the restart began.

The Bucks and Nets combined to attempt 108 three-pointers on Tuesday. The Nets were slightly better from long range as they went 21-of-57 from deep while the Bucks were 17-of-51.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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