Nets Fight Back, Lose 112-103 To Bucks

The Brooklyn Nets fought all the way back from a 16-point third quarter deficit, but couldn’t fight off a late surge, as they fell 112-103 to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

Back-to-back Brook Lopez three-pointers had the Nets up 94-92 in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks responded with an 11-1 run to take a 103-95 lead late, controlling the end of the game and sweeping the home-and-home set.

“We struggled to score,” Coach Kenny Atkinson said of the Nets down the stretch. “We got some good looks, but credit to them for executing down at the end.”

The Bucks’ fourth-quarter surge undid what was a gutsy second-half performance. Down 16, the Nets didn’t quit, coming back to win the third quarter 32-25, trailing by three points entering the fourth quarter. Sean Kilpatrick led the way in the third quarter comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the third.

The fourth started out as a dogfight, with the teams trading the lead 12 times before the Bucks pulled away. In total, the Nets scored 63 points in the second half (on 19-of-46 shooting), bouncing back after putting up 40 in the first half.

“We made shots,” Atkinson said. “In the first half, offense really hurt us.”

The Nets shots 33.3% in the first half, including 3-of-20 from deep. Lopez was uncharacteristically cold, going 0-of-10 in the first half with one point. Lopez hit three 3-pointers in the second half, bringing his total up to 13 on the night.

“I definitely wasn’t happy with the way I played,” Lopez said. “That definitely affected the outcome.”

The Nets held Giannis Antetokounmpo relatively in check offensively, limiting him to 16 points, though the Greek Freak was a force defensively, with a team-high 10 rebounds and a game-high five blocks, including three in the fourth quarter.

John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova were the beneficiaries of the Nets focus on Antetokounmpo. Henson led the Bucks with 20 points, while Dellavedova scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo dished three of his six assists to Henson, including a driving behind-the-back pass that wound up on the highlight reel in the third quarter.

Trevor Booker (illness) was out on Saturday, giving Anthony Bennett his first start as a Net. Bennett did a solid job on the glass filling in for the Nets leading rebounder, posting a career and game-high 14 boards, 10 on the defensive glass, in his first start since Feb. 20, 2015. Bennett’s 14 boards were also a Nets season high.

“I was happy to see Anthony Bennett come in and rebound and help us on the boards,” Atkinson said. “That was important for his development.”

The Nets return to action on Monday night when they host the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center. Tipoff is a 7:30 p.m.