Stars or no stars, the Nets remain one of the most resilient teams in all of basketball.
That became clear when they rallied from 22 points to make it a tight game down the stretch before the Bucks pulled away for a 118-113 victory over the Nets in Milwaukee.
And it marked the fourth time after the trades that sent Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the West that the Nets have erased a significant double-digit deficit against a quality opponent.
The Nets set a new record for the biggest comeback this season when they erased the Celtics’ 28-point lead to clinch a 115-105 road victory in Boston on March 3.
They came back from being down 18 to lose in Atlanta on Trae Young’s game-winning float play on February 26.
( Nets schedule will change for the worse with upcoming 5-game road trip )
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And in the hours following Durant’s deal on trade deadline night on February 9, the Nets erased a 13-point deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls, 116-105.
Then came Thursday.
The Bucks put all their starters on the floor except their MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was a late scratch due to a sore right hand. Milwaukee led a lineup loaded with veterans against the Nets, who, in the first straight game, rested Spencer Dinwiddie and sat out Nic Claxton (sprained right thumb/left Achilles tendinopathy), Cam Johnson (sore left right knee) and Royce. O’Neale (left knee pain). Ben Simmons (sore back/left knee) missed his eighth straight game since the All-Star break, and Mikal Bridges didn’t see the court after playing the entire opening period, another sign the Nets were rationing supplies. minutes in moderation before the second on Friday. A back-to-back game in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
Resilience has become a common thread for a Nets team that once relied on its former offensive superstars. Against a Bucks team that started with former All-Stars Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and former Net Brook Lopez along with Bobby Portis and Grayson Allen, the Nets, who entered the night heavily trailing, pulled off a one-game game. possession in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
And give the Nets bench credit: 98 second- and third-unit points is a new franchise record, and Cam Thomas led the charge with 21 points in a flurry of second-half buckets. Patty Mills added 23 more points off the bench and rookie Dru Smith scored a career-high 17 points for her.
Lopez, the former star center for the Nets, recorded a career-high nine blocks with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Portis shot 11 of 15 from the field for 28 points and 13 rebounds in Antetokounmpo’s absence, and Holiday finished with 11 points and seven assists.
The Nets now advance to their third game in a five-game road trip against Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves on Friday. They will travel to Denver for a matchup against reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Sunday before ending their trip in Oklahoma City against the Thunder on Tuesday.