NBA: No Harden, no problem as Nets hammer Bucks for 2-0 series edge

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jun 08 2021 10:45 AM | Updated as of Jun 08 2021 01:25 PM

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) tries to block a shot taken by Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in the first quarter during game two in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Barclays Center. Wendell Cruz, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kevin Durant scored 32 points in three quarters and the Brooklyn Nets did not miss a beat without James Harden, cruising to a 125-86 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in New York.

The second-seeded Nets lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 ahead of Game 3 on Thursday in Milwaukee.

Brooklyn, which never trailed, led by as many as 49 points in the fourth quarter. The Nets led by double digits for the final 39:11.

In 33 minutes, Durant shot 12 of 18 from the field and posted his fourth 30-point game of the postseason. He also hit four 3-pointers, grabbed four rebounds and handed out six assists.

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Durant finished his latest productive game by going around Giannis Antetokounmpo for a reverse layup with 4.8 seconds left in the third quarter to give Brooklyn a 95-65 lead.

Kyrie Irving added 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting and had six assists for the Nets, who shot 52.1 percent and set a franchise postseason record with 21 3-pointers. It marked the fourth time in their first seven postseason games the Nets shot at least 50 percent from the floor.

Antetokounmpo led the third-seeded Bucks with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 8 of 15 from the floor and missed five of seven free-throw attempts. He is shooting 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from the foul line in the postseason.

Milwaukee's Khris Middleton added 17 points but missed his first eight shots, finished 8 of 20 from the floor and committed five turnovers. Jrue Holiday was held to 13 points.

The Bucks shot 44 percent and misfired on 19 of 27 3-point tries after shooting 6 of 30 from behind the arc in Game 1.

Harden watched from the bench after being ruled out due to right hamstring tightness. He was injured 43 seconds into Brooklyn's 115-107 win in the series opener on Saturday.

Without Harden, the Nets dominated early and cruised to their fifth double-digit win of the postseason.

Durant scored 21 as the Nets led by as many as 27 points before halftime and took a 65-41 edge into the break. He made 7 of 10 shots prior to intermission, including a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first quarter that put the Nets up 36-19 after the opening 12 minutes.

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