Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills has said that the team are extremely confident of showing their best basketball skill in the NBA playoffs, despite accepting a turbulent campaign has left the team in a state that is “not ideal”.
Brooklyn Nets, who are listed in teams at flashpicks.com started the campaign as favorites to win the championship, have since had a near-constant drama. The playing status of Kyrie Irving amid his stance not to be vaccinated dominated the first stanza of their season before, in February, one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers James Harden forced his way out of the Nets in a blockbuster trade to join the 76ers.
However, with Kyrie Irving eventually cleared to play games both home and away, and Kevin Durant finding hitting top shape on his return from injury setback, Thursday night’s narrow loss by a point to reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks is a sign that the sky will be blue once again.
Mills said, “I don’t think it’s ideal, but it’s where we’re at with everything that’s gone on and this is the task at hand right now, We’re still here and we still have a great opportunity in front of us and the belief is all there, as it’s always been.”
Asked before the Bucks clash how sure he is of Brooklyn Nets finding their best, he said: “Yeah, very, very confident. I think we’re heading in the right direction of where we’re trying to be identity-wise and, like I said, the reason for the confidence is because we’ve shown multiple times throughout games and throughout an individual game of where we’re trying to be, so now it’s just about stringing all of that together.”
On Thursday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo made 14 of 21 shots and his only 3-pointer of the match moved him beyond Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop Milwaukee Buck’s all-time scoring list.
Giannis also added 14 rebounds and 6 assists to help the Bucks win for the 12th time in 15 contests.
Jrue Holiday contributed 19 points and Khris Middleton added 16 for the Bucks, who shot 44.9 percent and survived a whopping 22 turnovers.
Middleton was ejected during the game for a flagrant two foul call on Brooklyn’s Bruce Brown with 5:05 left.
Kevin Durant collected 26 points and 11 assists for Brooklyn Nets, who lost for the third time in four games with Milwaukee this campaign.
Kyrie Irving contributed 25 and Brown added 23 as Brooklyn Nets shot 46.4% and hit 18 3-pointers.
Mills said before Thursday’s match: “This is obviously a massive team defensive night for us to be able to understand personnel, be crystal clear in our game plan, what we’re trying to do on the defensive end, understand who their best players are and how to make them uncomfortable, but most of all I think transition, being able to limit that, and being able to take care of the ball.”
After the game, Antetokounmpo was asked about passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list of the Bucks, something he attained when he forced overtime play in the game by doing something we haven’t seen him do so much in his career: hitting a stepback, off-the-dribble three.
As he said, Antetokounmpo did not know this bucket handed him a record, but enjoyed how this played a major role in how he’s “changing the narrative.”
Antetokounmpo said with a smile on his face, “I don’t want to be the guy only that dunks and runs, I can make a three.” “But no, it doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day, if you don’t have a successful season and if you don’t try getting better and staying humble and staying happy, to play all the way until May, June, nobody is going to remember this.”