The Brooklyn Nets shocked the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Brooklyn Nets knew they’d be heading to Orlando without the services of four of their five best players in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie. The former two are dealing with injuries, while the latter two are recovering from the effects of COVID-19. Just before they landed in Orlando, Taurean Prince and Nicolas Claxton were also ruled out. They even had to dig up Jamal Crawford out of the deepest wells of the free agency pool.
When that already beat-up roster lost Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen before their game against the dominant Milwaukee Bucks, most assumed Jacque Vaughn and the Nets would just go through the motions in a blowout.
However, on the backs of the likes of Rodions Kurucs and Donta Hall, the Nets pulled out a 119-116 win. The Nets beating a 19-point spread made this the third-biggest upset in 30 years.
The biggest upset in NBA history was on March 21, 1992, when 25 points and 15 rebounds from Michael Jordan, in addition to 27 from Scottie Pippen, weren’t enough for the eventual champion Chicago Bulls to beat Terry Catledge and the Orlando Magic. The 56-13 Bulls lost 111-108 at home to the 17-51 Magic.
The Brooklyn Nets have played well in Orlando.
Although the Bucks rested their starters late (including Giannis Antetokounmpo for the entire second half), the Nets’ win was not a fluke either. It serves as a sign that Vaughn has the command and respect of this team. While he is auditioning for a head coaching job alongside KD and Kyrie next season, beating the best team in the league with a roster that forced the likes of Tyler Johnson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Chris Chiozza into prominent roles is certainly going to look nice on Vaughn’s resume.
With his simplified offense and propensity for pushing the pace, Vaughn has the shorthanded Nets rolling.
The Nets are playing with house money in the bubble, as backups and G League players will get the chance to prove they belong with the reloaded team in 2020. Beating the Bucks — second string or not — counts as nailing your audition.