On paper, the poster between the Nets and the Bucks seemed particularly indecisive, to the point that we imagined him going in seven games. On the field, however, the reality is quite different, as Brooklyn wandered in Game 1 and then in Game 2, against Milwaukee. Even without James Harden (and Jeff Green), the New York players had no trouble blowing up their Wisconsin counterparts, already under pressure.

Back home to play a Game 3 then a Game 4 of all dangers, the Bucks therefore have no choice: they have to win so as not to experience a new setback in the playoffs, after their premature elimination in the Orlando ‘bubble’, in 2020.

And to hope to reverse the trend in this series, Milwaukee will need, on the one hand, to regain its defensive footing but, above all, to regain its attacking spirit. Because it is surprisingly in attack that Giannis Antetokounmpo’s teammates are struggling for the moment to exist in this conference semi-final (97 points scored out of 100 possessions, against 115 in the first round). Despite a Nets defense far from flawless and consistent this season, but much more aggressive in the playoffs.

Except that the Bucks, who have accustomed us to showing a strong collective strike force, have so far found it difficult to play as a team.

“We struggled to find open players and play collectively, instead of one-on-one,” Jrue Holiday told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When you have a team that takes shots all over the place and feels like they can’t miss anything, you tend to want to fix everything on your own, including me. But I think we have to collectively pick up the pace, find the right balance and figure out when to do all of that, to get good shots. I really have the feeling that we have to play better as a team in order to find our shooting positions. “

But what particularly plagued Milwaukee’s chances at Barclays Center was Brooklyn’s ability to push Mike Budenholzer’s men to their limits on offense, thanks in part to untimely changes on every screen. The isolations and dribbling are thus more numerous, consequently reducing the number of shots in a “catch-and-shoot” situation allocated to the Wisconsin franchise.

“We have to better attack and anticipate the opposing ‘switches’, perhaps by succeeding in all those things which make the ‘switches’ problematic and complicated to achieve, for any team”, estimated the Coach of the year 2015 and 2019. “This is definitely an area in which we can progress and improve, with a view to Game 3.”

Already in the hard collectively, offensively and defensively, the Bucks are dominated as a bonus in the fight and in the intensity, by the Nets now confident in their strength.

“They put a lot of intensity in the first two games, they were everywhere on the field, in attack as in defense, they were just sharper and more determined than us”, regretted on this subject PJ Tucker, for the New York Post . “We have to start controlling the rebound again, be the first on the 50/50 balls. These kinds of things have to work to our advantage. Because it’s not just about registering shots, but also being present in things that cannot be seen in the statistics. “

For Milwaukee, it will also, and above all, be about not being struck by the usual lieutenants of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Because since the beginning of this series, Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, Mike James or Bruce Brown have, in turn, put the franchise of Wisconsin in difficulty, offering valuable support to their two All-Stars.

“We can’t give them that much,” warned P.J. Tucker, of New York “role players”. “We can’t let them come in, put in shots, put in lay-ups and get points in a second chance. All of these things add up and that’s when the gap widens. We need to limit everyone better. “

Back to the wall, or almost, the Bucks have a golden opportunity to prove what wood they are made of, they who are supposed to be among the favorites for the title or, at least, credible candidates for a accession to the Finals.

“We have to be resentful and vengeful, have pride, individually and collectively, on both sides of the field,” said Pat Connaughton. “Make it harder for them and use Game 2 to motivate us, to show what kind of team we are. “

And Mike Budenholzer adds, concerning precisely the responsiveness of his men: “They have proven themselves in the past when it comes to reacting and playing better. We’ve talked before about how your character and your identity are put to the test [with these kinds of matches]. “

Either way, the Nets already expect to find a completely different side in front of them at the Fiserv Forum. “It’s going to be a very complicated game, we are going to see the best of Milwaukee in this Game 3 and we will have to be ready and strong as soon as we leave the locker room”, announced Steve Nash, the Brooklyn coach, at the ‘Associated Press.

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