The Milwaukee Bucks had to think that they had a shot at a big win on Monday night as they took on the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were without one-third of their ‘big three,’ with James Harden sidelined with an injury. They didn’t take their chance, and it was never really close. The Nets, led by Kevin Durant’s 32 point evening, ran off from the get-go. They outscored the Bucks 36-19 in the first quarter and they led by 24 at the half.
The Bucks would need a major uptick in performance to come back, but they never got it, struggling from the floor by shooting 44%. It led to a rather embarrassing-looking loss, a 125-86 defeat in which Giannis only managed to put up 18 points. Now down 2-0, they will hope that their home crowd can lift them to making this a competitive series. Things were much more competitive out West as the Phoenix Suns hosted the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their second-round series. But it was still the home team that came out on top, coming to life in the second half in a big way by outscoring their opponents by 18 to take a 122-105 win to go up 1-0. It was a total team effort as well, with all five starters producing double digits in points and four of them scoring 20+. Mikal Bridges led the way with 23 while Chris Paul had a double-double with 21 points and 11 assists. Denver had just one player, Nikola Jokic, with over 20 points (he had 22), and he was kept relatively quiet otherwise with nine rebounds and only three assists in the loss.