NBA playoffs

Harden-less Nets hammer Bucks for 2-0 series edge

Harden-less Nets hammer Bucks for 2-0 series edge

OVERPOWERED. Nets forwards Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin fight for the loose ball against Bucks guard Jrue Holiday.

Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kevin Durant and the Nets dominate the Bucks by 39 points in Game 2

Kevin Durant fired 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 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in New York on Monday, June 7 (Tuesday, June 8, Manila time).

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 4 three-pointers, grabbed 4 rebounds, and handed out 6 assists.

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 6 assists for the Nets, who shot 52.1% and set a franchise postseason record with 21 three-pointers. It marked the fourth time in their first seven postseason games the Nets shot at least 50% 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% (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% and misfired on 19 of 27 three-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 three-pointer with two seconds left in the first quarter that put the Nets up 36-19 after the opening 12 minutes. –