The Nets completed their West-coast road trip with a 4-2 record Saturday night in Milwaukee.
The Nets cast aside the Milwaukee Bucks, who own the worst record in the league, to the tune of 107-98. New Net Marcus Thornton came off the bench to score 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Thornton picked up the slack for Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Paul Pierce, who combined to shoot 11-for-32 from the field (34.4 percent).
Kevin Garnett missed the game with back spasms, but the starting center should return for the Nets’ tilt Monday night against the Chicago Bulls. Andray Blatche occupied most of the frontcourt minutes and finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
While the Nets played well for long stretches of their trip, the four wins came against teams ranked 11th or lower in their respective conferences. The Nets won contested matchups against the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and Bucks while losing a nail-biter to the Golden State Warriors. The Nets found themselves on both sides of the ledger in blowouts with the Portland Trail Blazers (loss) and Denver Nuggets (win).
The Nets took care of business, but they won’t receive any ticker-tape parades for outlasting some mediocre teams. As has emerged as the trend, the Nets lost the rebounding battle to the Bucks. They also fired a lower percentage from the field.
The Bulls provide Jason Kidd and his staff another litmus test next week in Brooklyn. The Nets will face teams with imposing interiors. The Bulls will run a trio of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Taj Gibson at Garnett at Blatche. Wednesday they’ll face Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Nets have the opportunity to return to .500 with a win against the Bulls.