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New Jersey Nets (1-1) at Milwaukee Bucks (1-1), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Bucks try to take the lead in their
best-of-seven series with the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey
Nets when they welcome them to Bradley Center tonight.
After being blown right out of Continental Airlines Arena in Game 1, the Bucks
bounced back with an 88-85 win in Game 2. Gary Payton rebounded from his
eight-point performance in Game 1 and scored 22 points in the win.
Sam Cassell added 21 and Tim Thomas, who was placed in the starting lineup
after a strong 25-point showing off the bench in Game 1, finished with 18.
The game was nip-and-tuck through its closing moments. There were 30 lead
changes and 18 ties, and neither team was able to build more than a five-point
lead. The Nets led Game 1 from start to finish en route to an easy 109-96
"That other game was a blowout because we didn't come to play. Today we came
to play, and this is the way playoff basketball should be -- tit-for-tat,
going back and forth, and giving the fans a good game,'' Payton said.
Payton also finished with seven assists.
In Game 2, the perimeter shooting was very poor. Milwaukee shot 3-of-15 from
behind the arc, while New Jersey made just 3-of-13 from three-point land.
Milwaukee has hit on just 15 of 32 free throw attempts (46.9 percent) in the
With the win, the Bucks are 8-3 all-time against New Jersey in the postseason.
They have faced the Nets twice before in the playoffs, taking both series (4-2
in 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals; 3-0 first round 1986) while compiling a
4-1 mark in their own building. This is Milwaukee's fourth playoff appearance
in five seasons under head coach George Karl, and the 23rd appearance in the
35-year history of the franchise.
The Nets split their two home games during their opening-round series with the
Indiana Pacers last season, so they know what needs to be done.
"We understand what we have to do," New Jersey coach Byron Scott said. "We
were in the same position last year. Our goal is to go up there in Game 3
and do the same thing that they did to us here."
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