The Brooklyn Nets might be unstoppable.
Even with James Harden sidelined due to a hamstring injury he suffered in Game 1, the Nets looked like NBA title favorites in a resounding win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2. Kevin Durant tallied 32 points and Kyrie Irving added 22 as the Nets cruised to another easy win. Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The Nets broke out in the first quarter with a 36-19 advantage and never looked back. The Bucks continued to struggle from the field, with Khris Middleton failing to connect on his first eight shot attempts. Durant and Irving, on the other hand, hit four shots each in the first period.
Brooklyn made 21 triples to Milwaukee’s eight, giving the Nets a +39 advantage from deep. Surprisingly, the teams combined to shoot just 16 free throws.
Defensively, the Nets once again forced the Bucks into making bad decision. Milwaukee had 16 turnovers in the blowout loss and will have to turn things around fast or this series will be over much quicker than anticipated. The Nets have combined brilliant shooting with effort on defense, a bad sign for the rest of the league.
If there was any pressure for Harden to return from injury, Monday’s win eliminated it. Durant is making his case as the league’s best player, despite coming off an Achilles injury which caused him to miss a full season. Irving is proving to be a dependable second option and Brooklyn is getting valuable contributions from Joe Harris, Blake Griffin and the bench. This is a deep team, but with the added benefit of having three superstars when fully healthy.
Durant and Irving teamed up with the Nets for a reason. There have been some ups and downs and organizational turnover, but Game 2 was a statement of intent from both players. It’s hard to see any team across the league challenging Brooklyn at this moment.