How Brooklyn Nets should react after Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dominance

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 02: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 02: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

If you were told before last afternoon’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks that Kevin Durant was going to score 42 points, you likely would’ve assumed that Giannis Antetokounmpo and the squad were headed for a crushing loss against the Brooklyn Nets. Instead, Giannis stepped on the accelerator, scoring 49 of his own to give Milwaukee the win.

The Nets were beat up by the Bucks, and their loss is forcing their iron grip on the top seed to slowly slip away. If they end up with the No. 2 seed in the East, they could end up playing these same Bucks again in the postseason should they both win their first-round playoff series.

The biggest flaw on this Nets team, despite the improvements they have made, remains interior defense, and the Bucks showed that if they get someone skilled enough at penetrating and finishing some confidence against this Nets team, they can keep abusing them on the interior.

Should this be a sign that Brooklyn needs to make some huge changes in order to better compete against Milwaukee and Philadelphia? Or was this just one bad game against a very good Milwaukee team that the Nets should write off as a fluke?

The Brooklyn Nets shouldn’t panic after the Bucks loss.

If Steve Nash wants to make some minor changes to his defensive philosophy, not sticking DeAndre Jordan on Giannis as a primary defender might be something worth pursuing. Of Giannis’ 49 points, 35 of them came with Jordan as his primary defender. The Nets need to avoid this should they meet again.

No, the solution is not someone like Alize Johnson or Bruce Brown. James Harden has shown this year that when players like Kawhi Leonard needed to be clamped down on, he can get the job done. Giannis is a much tougher physical challenge given his size, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that Harden would be a better one-on-one matchup. Of course, he wasn’t there on Sunday afternoon.

The Nets can’t switch things up too much on the back of one loss. For a team that is already playing a bit disjointed and one that will have to learn how to play with all three of their stars in the lineup essentially on the fly, it’s an unnecessary self-imposed challenge.

There is no shame in losing to a player like Giannis after a Hall of Fame performance like this, and Brooklyn shouldn’t completely switch up their style because of one great game. Making some incremental tweaks, however, might be the best move for the Brooklyn Nets, especially considering that they might end up taking on Milwaukee in the second round.