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Milwaukee Bucks face character test after getting embarrassed by the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2

Coverage of the NBA playoffs continues on Thursday night as the Milwaukee Bucks host the Brooklyn Nets in a must-win game; 2-0 down in the series, will Giannis and company step up in front of a home crowd and claw one back? Join us live from 12:30am on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena

Giannis Antetokounmpo

No second-round match-up had more advance billing than the Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks series that featured the NBA's two highest-scoring offenses.

So far, it has been no contest.

Live NBA Playoffs 18a Brooklyn @ Milwaukee Gm3 10.06 2430

Brooklyn have been every bit as potent as advertised in building a 2-0 lead. But the struggling Bucks posted their lowest points total of the season in a 125-86 Game 2 loss.

Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) looks to pass around Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Saturday, June 5, 2021, in New York. 1:57
Highlights of the second game in the Eastern Conference semi-finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets

The Bucks' chances of making this a competitive series depend on whether they can return home and regain the form they showed before these last couple of games.

"I think they have a great track record and history of playing well and responding," Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We talked about how your character is tested."

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant reacts after making a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series 1:55
Kevin Durant dropped 29 points with 10 rebounds in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Bucks

These Bucks certainly have a great track record in the regular season. They posted the league's best regular-season record in 2018-19 and 2019-20 before finishing third in the Eastern Conference this season.

But they are staring at the likelihood of a second straight second-round playoff exit unless they turn things around quickly. Thursday's playoff action has the Bucks hosting the Nets in Game 3 and the Utah Jazz attempting to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Mo Mooncey looks back to the Bucks' 2020 postseason and questions if enough has changed to prevent them from failing to make the Eastern Conference Finals again.

"This is going to be a really tough game," Nets coach Steve Nash said. "We'll see the best Milwaukee has in Game 3. We've got to be prepared for that and be ready to come out of the gates really strong."

Brooklyn entered the playoffs with a reputation as an offensive juggernaut and with question marks over their defense. But the Nets have spent the first two games of this series shutting down Milwaukee's high-powered offense.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant during Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series 2:48
Highlights of the opening game in the Eastern Conference semi-finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets

The Bucks were the first team since the 1984-85 Denver Nuggets to finish a regular season averaging at least 120 points per game, but their offense has looked like a shell of itself so far in this series. Brooklyn's constant switching on defense has thrown the Bucks out of sync.

"They've had great intensity the first two games," Bucks forward PJ Tucker said of the Nets. "I think they've kind of been all over the place, all over the floor, on offense and defense. I think they just had a little more of an edge than we've had."

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series 1:58
Ovie Soko is not convinced that the Bucks can overcome the Nets after going 2-0 down in their Eastern Conference semi-final series.

The good news for Tucker at least is that Brooklyn's playmaker-in-chief James Harden will miss Game 3 with a right hamstring strain he sustained only 43 seconds into Game 1. That just leaves Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to take care of then.

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