Brooklyn Nets

D'Angelo Russell leads Brooklyn Nets past Giannis-less Milwaukee Bucks to climb into sixth seed

The Brooklyn Nets gave their playoff hopes a big boost, with a hard-fought 133-128 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum.

Eight Nets scored in double figures on the night, led by D'Angelo Russell's 25 points and 10 assists on 10-for-15 shooting, including 3-for-4 from deep, while Caris LeVert came off the bench with 24 on 9-of-12 shooting and 4-of-5 from three.

With the Bucks already sealing the #1 seed in the East, Giannis Antetokounmpo was rested for this game, but his teammates battled right down to the wire, erasing a double-digit deficit to take a 128-126 lead with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter thanks to two free throws from Eric Bledsoe.

From there the Nets closed the game on a 7-0 run, with a Joe Harris dagger from three giving them the lead, followed by this drive and finish from Russell to give the Nets some breathing room.

The Nets got a huge boost from their bench, outscoring the Bucks' second unit 69-49, with Jarden Dudley providing the spark in the second half, scoring 14 of his 16 points after half-time, adding seven rebounds.

As the Bucks went small, Dudley was thrust into the centre position down the stretch, coming up with the clutch offensive rebound with five seconds remaining to seal the win.

Bledsoe finished with a game-high 33 points and 11 assists, while Khris Middleton added 24 points for the Bucks, capping off an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter with a jumper to tie the scores at 113-113 with 7:50 remaining.

With the win, the Nets (40-40) leapfrog the Orlando Magic into the sixth seed, holding the tie-breaker after claiming the season series 2-1. They now sit a 0.5 of a game ahead of the eighth seed Detroit Pistons and 1.5 clear of the Miami Heat in ninth.

Brooklyn now has two games remaining this season, taking on the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, before hosting the Miami Heat in Dwyane Wade's final regular season game at Barclays Center on Wednesday.

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