Kidd guides Bucks back to Brooklyn

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(SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Kidd will return to Brooklyn on Wednesday night, this time as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, as he guides his surprising young team into battle against the Nets at the Barclays Center.

Kidd was the head coach of the Nets last season. It was a rocky tenure, which started very poorly, and ended decently, at least on the court. Kidd led Brooklyn to a first-round upset in the Eastern Conference playoffs, then fell to the Miami Heat.

Things got worse from there. Much, much worse.

Kidd made a power play for more authority in the front office. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov allowed him to seek employment elsewhere, and that's when the Bucks and their new ownership came courting.

Forget the fact the Bucks had Larry Drew under contract as the head coach, Kidd interviewed and got the job. He's taken the Bucks to an over .500 record, and although it's very early in the campaign, this Milwaukee team had the worst record in the league last season.

Kidd was evasive about his return to Brooklyn. Before Milwaukee's 117-113 home win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday, Kidd dodged questions about the Nets game, instead focusing on the Knicks game.

"I can only think about the Knicks right now," Kidd said. "You should've known that was coming."

The Nets' players don't seem to harbor any ill will.

"Our time was good," said guard Deron Williams. "It was up and down because of how the season went. The season was such a struggle early on, but once we got going it was great."

The Bucks earned their second win in a row Tuesday night. It was their fourth win in the last five games.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 20 points off the bench and seven Bucks reached double figures in Milwaukee's win.

Brandon Knight and Zaza Pachulia had 14 points apiece to help Milwaukee win. Pachulia also grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds starting in place of Larry Sanders, who was a late scratch with a bruised thigh.

The two teams played to a 30-30 tie after one quarter, but Milwaukee built a 17-point lead after dominating the second. The Bucks shot 15-for-23 in the period and 4-for-6 from behind the arc while controlling the glass, winning the rebounding margin 15-4.

It was 66-49 at halftime and the Bucks held off a Knicks' late rally.

The Bucks, who shot better than 50 percent for the first time this season, will visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday to complete the short road trip.

The Nets badly need a victory. They've dropped four in a row, including all three on a difficult trip west, which featured matchups with the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers.

When Brooklyn returned home, it fell to the Heat, 95-83, on Monday.

Brooklyn received a career high-tying 22 points out of Bojan Bogdanovic, but shot a poor 36.7 percent in the second half. Jarrett Jack had 15 points for the Nets and Williams finished with 14 along with seven assists.

"We have to keep growing. Keep fighting. You have to keep scratching and clawing," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.

The Nets swept all three meetings last season with Milwaukee and have won five straight in this series. Milwaukee is 7-2 in its last nine as the visitor against Brooklyn.