Brook Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets needed a strong performance after an embarrassing loss to the New York Knicks.
Call it a perfect time for a trip to Milwaukee.
Lopez scored 32 points, Joe Johnson had 15 and the Nets beat the lowly Bucks 90-82 on Saturday night.
Lopez dominated inside, making 11 of 13 shots from the field. He also had seven rebounds and four assists as Brooklyn bounced back from Thursday night’s 113-83 home loss to New York. The Nets had dropped four of five overall.
”When you have a player like Brook or Joe, who can also command double teams, you’re going to have some shots around the arc that we made tonight,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. ”So, everybody pitched in.”
Alan Anderson added 13 points for Brooklyn, which shot 46 percent from the field and enjoyed a 41-36 rebounding edge.
O.J. Mayo led the Bucks with 22 points and John Henson added 18 points and seven rebounds. Milwaukee has the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 4-16.
”We had no answer for Lopez. His size down low was too much for us,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. ”We couldn’t play him one on one. We tried different things, but he got the ball out to their shooters. We tried everything.”
Lopez had 20 points in the first half on near-perfect shooting. He also was a defensive presence in the low post.
”I just tried to take my time in the post and really read what they were doing,” Lopez said. ”Just play off that.”
Milwaukee tried to double team Lopez, put big bodies on him, but nothing worked. He either sank the shot or made the free throw.
”That’s Brook. That’s who he is,” Kidd said. ”He’s a guy who demands attention. Again, he’s seen a lot of double teams in his young career. He’s making all the right plays. He’s letting guys get to their spots. Guys are knocking down shots.”
Nets forward Kevin Garnett struggled from the field, hitting just 2 of 9 shots while scoring six points, but he had two key fourth-quarter baskets.
Brandon Knight’s two free throws with 3:54 remaining cut Brooklyn’s lead to 82-75. But Garnett rebounded Johnson’s missed 3-pointer at the other end and scored to restore the Nets’ nine-point advantage.
The Bucks closed to 84-78 with 2:38 left on Khris Middleton’s two foul shots. Lopez then got free under the basket and Johnson found him for an easy dunk, and Garnett hit a 19-foot jumper with 1:42 remaining.
Johnson made a 17-foot jumper as the shot clock expired with 43.3 seconds left to put Milwaukee away.
NOTES: The Nets and Bucks held a pregame moment of silence in honor South African leader Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday. … Lopez extended his double-digit scoring streak to 37 games dating to Feb. 26. … Milwaukee was without F Caron Butler (sore left knee) for the sixth straight game and C Zaza Pachulia (sprained right foot) for his second game in a row. … For the Nets, F Andrei Kirilenko (sore back) missed his 16th consecutive game, guards Jason Terry (bruised left knee) and Deron Williams (sprained left ankle) each missed their ninth straight and F Paul Pierce (broken right hand) won’t be back for two to four weeks.