MILWAUKEE -- Brook Lopez is a legitimate big man.
Think Dwight Howard big. DeMarcus Cousins big. Roy Hibbert big.
The Brooklyn Nets center, at 7-foot, 265 pounds, clearly was a sizable concern for the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Lopez finished with a season-high 32 points and dominated the paint in leading the struggling Nets to a 90-82 victory over Milwaukee in a battle for the Eastern Conference cellar.
Embattled coach Jason Kidd brought the Nets to the BMO Harris Bradley Center following a 30-point, home-court thrashing by the rival New York Knicks on Thursday.
The Bucks (4-16) were coming off an emotional overtime victory in Washington on Friday night. But none of that carried over in a sluggish performance.
"We were a step slow, very stagnant," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "As sharp as we were (Friday) in Washington, we were two steps behind tonight, for whatever reason.
"They really didn't do anything in particular. The one thing we wanted to do coming into this game is we wanted to push the pace and push the tempo.
"Their game is to play out of the half court. We didn't feel we could play that way against them. They're just too big."
Lopez had 20 points in the first half and proved adept at avoiding the Bucks' double teams or attacking aggressively in instances he was defended one-on-one.
Drew tried to protect big men John Henson and Ekpe Udoh by using third-string center Miroslav Raduljica for 10 minutes.
Although the 7-1, 270-pound Raduljica scored eight points, he could do little to slow down Lopez.
"We did our best, but the conclusion is it was pretty tough," Raduljica said.
Lopez hit 11 of 13 shots and 10 of 11 free throws and he sank his medium-range set shot.
"I've seen him make that shot over and over again," Drew said. "He's a capable shooter for a big man.
"If you try to play him one-on-one and you don't have the strength and the size, he'll just gobble you up. But he made his shot tonight and he was more effective down on the block.
"We'd double-team him and at times try to play him straight up. And we mixed in some of our zone defenses, but nothing was effective tonight."
O.J. Mayo paced the Bucks with 22 points and Henson added 18 points and seven rebounds.
Khris Middleton was limited to nine points after his career-best 29-point game against the Wizards on Friday.
Joe Johnson scored 15 points for the Nets (6-14) and Alan Anderson had 13. Andray Blatche came in off the bench and used his size effectively, too, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds.
"We are going to slow it down and try to get the ball inside," Kidd said. "When you have an opportunity to do that and have guys like Brook and Joe commanding double-teams, you are going to have some shots around the arc that we made tonight.
"Everyone pitched in, but we are not a team that is going to zoom up the score to 110 points every night."
The Bucks finished with a 1-3 record for the week.
And it won't get any easier as they play four games in five nights again this week, with two against the Chicago Bulls and games against San Antonio and Dallas.
Milwaukee settled into the Eastern Conference cellar all by itself and only Utah (4-18) has a worse mark in the entire league.
The Bucks were able to take a 40-39 halftime lead but never could get a spurt going.
And the Nets began to take control late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. They led, 65-59, after three periods and extended the margin to 12 points early in the final quarter.
Brooklyn was without Paul Pierce and Deron Williams due to injuries but had contributions from throughout the lineup.
Kevin Garnett missed his first seven shots but scored two late baskets as Brooklyn secured the victory, its third in a row over the Bucks during the past two seasons.
"This is the NBA," Drew said. "You go through stretches of dealing with the highs and the lows and dealing with the travel schedule.
"They were sitting here and waiting on us last night when we played and had to travel from Washington. But we've got to get used to that. That's a cop-out. We've got to man up and deal with the schedule like all 29 other teams do.
"We just came out tonight and didn't play with the juice we did (Friday)."
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