Milwaukee Bucks - Brooklyn Nets Preview

Coming off a 96-93 win over Boston Saturday where Brandon Knight's jumper with 6.7 seconds remaining sealed the win, Milwaukee is looking for their seventh win in eight games and their fifth straight win at home, something they haven’t done since 2009-2010.

Part of the reason the Bucks have been doing so well has been their superb defense. Since January 1, the Bucks are second overall in opponents field goal percentage (41.2%) and first in opponents three-point percentage (30.2). Milwaukee is one of the lengthiest teams, which gives them versatility and the ability to create mismatches as many of the players can guard multiple positions.

The last time these teams were pitted against one another on November 24, Milwaukee prevailed over three, thrilling overtimes to beat Brooklyn, 122-118. At first, Brandon Knight became the scapegoat in the first extra period as he stole a pass with 2.9 seconds remaining and missed an uncontested layup that would’ve won the game. However, despite the error, Knight redeemed himself by hitting the game-tying three-pointer late in the second overtime and the clinching free throws at the end of the third for the win.

Rookie Jabari Parker scored a season-high 23 points, O.J. Mayo poured in 21, and Knight and Giannis Antetokounmpo each scored 18 for the Bucks.

Brook Lopez scored a season-best 26 points for the Nets, while Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points, and Deron Williams and Johnson each finished with 18.

Since that game, the Brooklyn Nets are tied with the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the playoffs while the Bucks are in sixth place, and though it is not the most secure position, it is significant for a team that has a plethora of injuries and had only 15 victories last season.

The Nets are looking to regroup after a brutal 114-77 thrashing against Washington where they shot just 33.8 percent while Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson and Deron Williams combined to miss 22 of 26 shots. In fact, ever since Williams returned from a rib injury, he has had difficulty finding his shot, going 2-for-9 against the Knicks and 0-for-8 against the Wizards.

Before Washington, the Nets were playing solid basketball as they shot just over 49 percent during a three-game winning streak that included big victories over two playoff contenders, the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors.

As for this game, Milwaukee’s depleted frontcourt will have its hands full with center Brook Lopez, who has averaged 18.2 points the past four games.

Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett is expected to return to action after resting Saturday in the second of back-to-back games, while Milwaukee's Zaza Pachulia (strained right calf) and Kenyon Martin (sore left ankle) are day to day.

Larry Sanders has fulfilled his 10-game suspension for substance abuse but is not eligible to return until he fully complies with the NBA’s treatment program.

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