Irving, ball under basketball ring
Photo by Markus Spiske on

MILWAUKEE – How quickly things can change. It was only a few days ago when Brooklyn was sitting pretty with a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Now, the Nets are tied with the Bucks 2-2 after dropping their second straight game in Milwaukee.

Even worse than the 107-96 loss on Sunday afternoon is the loss of yet another member of the Nets Big 3.

Kyrie Irving went down with a sprained right ankle midway through the second quarter and did not return.

Irving landed on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot after hitting a close-range jump shot.

Irving laid on the ground visibly in pain and replays showed he rolled his ankle severely.

Furthermore, the New Jersey native has been ruled out for a critical Game 5 on Tuesday.

Irving, who played high school basketball at St. Patrick and Montclair Kimberley Academy, left the game with 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-2 from behind the 3-point line.

The All-Star guard also had five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.

Nets forward Jeff Green, who just returned from an injury himself, discussed Irving’s ankle sprain and its impact on the game to reporters after the game.

“It’s always deflating when one of our guys go down but like we always have been through the year it’s next man up,” Green said.

“They went on a run and we just didn’t bounce back. There’s no excuses. Everybody’s prepared, everybody’s ready. Just glad it’s just a sprain and nothing more and hopefully he can heal up in the next 48.”

Nets coach Steve Nash does not have a timeline for Irving or James Harden who remains out after reinjuring his right hamstring 43 seconds into Game 1.

However, Nash believes the Nets can play better than their showing in Game 4 regardless of the injuries.

“Obviously, we lost a great player during the game which was tough,” Nash said.

“We didn’t play particularly well. I thought we had a pretty good start. I thought we dropped a little bit, they got going on some transition breakdowns, they started to get some three balls going and some offensive rebounds, some fifties, got a little separation at half. And then we struggled in the second half. So, we missed him, obviously. It was a big adjustment tonight to play without him and James, but we’ve had that type of year. So, we have to find a way to figure it out, to look at the tape and get better.”

There is no timeline for the return of either star as of this writing.

The Nets return home to Brooklyn to play the Bucks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on TNT.

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