Milwaukee Bucks fall to Brooklyn Nets 119-111
MILWAUKEE — Allen Crabbe scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers in the closing minutes of a tight game, and the Brooklyn Nets shot 48 percent from behind the arc to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 119-111 on Thursday night.
The sharpshooting Nets were 19 of 39 from 3-point range, dealing a blow to the Bucks’ hopes of moving up from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Crabbe was clutch by hitting two of his five 3s over the final three minutes, the second coming with 1:18 left to give the Nets a six-point lead that sent Bucks fans to the exits.
This isn’t the way the Bucks wanted to play a night after clinching its third postseason berth in four years thanks to Detroit’s loss to Philadelphia. With the 53-loss Nets in town, Milwaukee had a prime opportunity to keep pace with Miami and Washington in the chase for the sixth and seventh seeds in the East.
Khris Middleton scored 31 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee.
Undermanned in the frontcourt because of injuries, the Nets packed the paint to try to prevent the free-wheeling Antetokounmpo from having his way around the rim.
A hot night from 3-point territory made up for their shortcomings up front. Russell was 4 of 10 from the arc, while Joe Harris was 3 of 5 and finished with 17 points.
The Nets tied a franchise record set last season with a 14th straight game of at least 10 3-pointers.
Brooklyn had the Bucks on their heels until Eric Bledsoe’s energetic play gave Milwaukee a spark on both ends of the floor. The speedy point guard had two steals during an 18-3 run in the third quarter, finishing the spurt with a corner 3 for a 75-71 lead with 2:22 left.
But the Bucks were just 5 of 20 overall from 3-point range.
Brooklyn’s 23rd different starting lineup of the season got off to a hot start. The quintet of center Jarrett Allen, forwards Harris and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson along with guards Crabbe and Russell combined to shoot 57 percent in the first half and 44 percent (9 of 22) from the 3-point arc to take a 52-45 lead at halftime.
Nets: The frontcourt was beset by injuries with F DeMarre Carroll (left hip) and C Jahlil Okafor (right ankle) each missing the game after getting hurt in a loss Tuesday at Philadelphia. … F Dante Cunningham did not dress because of back spasms.
Bucks: F Jabari Parker had a couple highlight-reel dunks but finished 6 of 21 from the field for 13 points. He added 10 rebounds. … Bledsoe had 16 points and six assists.
Nets: At Chicago on Friday night.
Bucks: At New York on Friday night.