KYRIE Irving finished with a season-high 38 points and the Brooklyn Nets overcame a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 126-123 on Saturday in a rematch of a 2021 Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.
Brooklyn outscored the Bucks 23-13 over the final 5:30 to earn its first win in three meetings with Milwaukee this season. LaMarcus Aldridge sank a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Irving shot 14-for-26 and added five rebounds and five assists. Brooklyn’s Seth Curry tallied 19 points, Andre Drummond posted 17 points and 12 rebounds, Bruce Brown went for 15 points and Aldridge had 11.
Bobby Portis tied his season high with 30 points thanks to a career-high eight 3-pointers. Antetokounmpo finished with 29 points (on 8-of-20 shooting), 14 rebounds and six assists, Khris Middleton had 25 points and seven assists, and Jrue Holiday contributed 19 points and seven assists.
Missing free throws proved to be costly for Milwaukee, as it left 13 points at the charity stripe, going 25-for-38 (65.8%). Brooklyn hit 25 of its 33 foul shots (75.8%).
After trailing by six at half time, the Nets went on a 27-8 run that put them up 89-76 with 4:28 left to play in the third quarter. Irving led the surge with seven points, while Curry added six.
The Bucks responded with a 17-7 run to pull within three by the end of the frame.
Milwaukee used a 10-6 run to propel itself into the break with a 59-53 lead. Antetokounmpo and Portis each had 14 points before half time, and Middleton added 11. The Bucks were also hit from 3-point range, going 10-for-21 (47.7%).
Irving led all scorers with 17 first-half points, and Drummond added eight. Brooklyn did a good portion of its work down low, scoring 24 of its 53 points in the paint.
The Bucks shot 50% as a team through the first quarter, allowing them to jump out to a 32-25 lead. — Reuters