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  • Erik Slater

Antetokounmpo does it all in Bucks blowout win over Nets

Giannis Antetokounmpo showed the entire league why he is an MVP candidate in the Bucks' win over the Nets Friday night in Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo scored 41 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out seven assists as Milwaukee defeated Brooklyn 116-91.

Kris Middleton scored 21 points on 9-14 shooting from the field.

The Nets were no match for the length and athleticism of Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo (7'3"), John Henson (7'5") and Middleton (6'11") used their tremendous wingspans to limit the Nets offensively.

The Bucks used their size to force Brooklyn into tough shots away from the basket. Brooklyn shot just 37.1% from the field and an abysmal 23.5% from three.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson did not approve of his team's shot selection throughout the game. “Our shot selection - quite honestly - was very poor, that’s what started it off [poorly]. We couldn’t get separation, we couldn’t get to the basket,” Atkinson said.

Milwaukee held the Nets to just 15 first quarter points as they jumped out to an 18-point lead. Brooklyn shot 2-13 from three in the opening period.

The Bucks led by 23 at halftime. However, the Nets were able to cut the lead to nine at the end of the third.

Brooklyn traded baskets with Milwaukee for the the first half of the fourth, but the Bucks pulled away late. Milwaukee outscored Brooklyn 25-9 in the final 6:50 of the contest.

The Nets struggled to matchup with the Bucks on both ends of the floor. Brooklyn lacks a player with the combination of size and defensive ability necessary to slow down Antetokounmpo.

Atkinson commended the Bucks and Antetokounmpo postgame. “Total domination, I thought they played great. Obviously, Giannis started it off with a big first quarter, big first half, we couldn’t find a solution to slow him down,” Atkinson said.

D'Angelo Russell led Brooklyn with 14 points in 21 minutes of action. Russell began to find his groove again scoring the basketball, but he struggled in all other aspects of his game.

The first-year Net committed seven turnovers, posted zero assists and had the second-worst plus-minus on the team at -20. Russell is still shaking the rust off, but he will need to continue to develop his all-around game.

The Nets may be without Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for their next game as well. Hollis-Jefferson strained his left groin in the loss and is considered day-to-day.

The loss drops Brooklyn to 18-31 on the season. The Nets will not have must rest time as they travel to Minnesota for a matchup with the Timberwolves Saturday night.