Milwaukee put a cap on its celebration of last season’s NBA title Tuesday night and then got back to work in an attempt to defend that championship. That effort got off to a good start with a 127-104 win over Brooklyn at Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks led by as many as 19 in the first half before the Nets cut it to five just before the break. The game was close heading to the fourth quarter but Milwaukee then put its foot on the gas for the season-opening blowout.
NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo got the new campaign going with 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while Khris Middleton gave the Bucks 20 points and nine rebounds. Milwaukee also got a lift off the bench from second-year forward Jordan Nwora, who pitched in 15 points and six rebounds. Pat Connaughton was also strong for Milwaukee, hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 20 points.
The Nets were paced by Kevin Durant’s 32 points and 11 rebounds. Patty Mills dropped 21 points in his Brooklyn debut, while James Harden had 20 points in the loss.
Milwaukee lost point guard Jrue Holiday in the first half to a bruised heel. Before leaving, he had 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field.
The Bucks will now hit the road for a three-game trip starting Thursday in Miami.