Bucks punk Nets in Brooklyn but the rookies shined bright

The Nets youngsters shined bright in a beatdown loss to Milwaukee
Dec 27, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (43) drives to
Dec 27, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (43) drives to / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks, who have been in New York since late last week (they played two games against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden and split them), punked the Nets in Brooklyn on Wednesday night, 144-122.

Milwaukee who was clearly angry coming off a Christmas Day loss, got up on the Nets early, who fought back to tie the game in the third quarter, but the Bucks stars took over and the game got out of hand in the fourth.

Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 32 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in the game to lead Milwaukee.

The Nets gave their young players a very long look without Nic Claxton, Cam Johnson, Ben Simmons, and Spencer Dinwiddie on a cold December night.

The Brooklyn Nets rookies shined bright on Wednesday

Jalen Wilson, Brooklyn's 2023 second-round pick, dropped 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. The rookie shot just five of 13 from the field but went 11 of 11 from the free throw line. The most important part of Wilson's performance on Wednesday was not the points or rebounds he recorded but the immense energy and effort he played with.

Wilson's big night should come as no suprise. He was the key cog on Kansas's 2022 National Championship winning team. He knows how to ball out when the lights are brightest.

With four opening-night starters out Wednesday and many starters like Mikal Bridges, Royce O'Neale, and Cam Thomas struggling, Jacque Vaughn gave the youngsters a long look. Outside of Wilson, Noah Clowney, a 2023 first-round pick, dropped 14 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes. Dariq Whitehead, also a 2023 first-round pick, struggled, scoring just two points in 21 minutes.

Trendon Watford, the most impressive of Brooklyn's young players this season, dropped 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 28 minutes on the bench. Watford is only 22 years old and is quickly turning into a critical piece off the Nets bench.

Armoni Brooks, who became a favorite of Nets Nation early this year when he helped deliver a Nets win in South Beach, dropped 12 points.

Brooklyn's young players shined for the most part, but their key players were either out or hurt, and that can not continue if they have any prayer at contending this season.

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