The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are set to face off in what is likely the most anticipated series of the second round. It’s a scintillating matchup that pits the offensive wizardry of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving against a powerful Big Three in their own right of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Man aniddleton and Jrue Holiday.
Catch this game live at 7:30 AM Manila time on Sunday, June 6.
HOME TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (0-0, 0-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: James Harden
- SG: Kyrie Irving
- SF: Joe Harris
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Blake Griffin
The Nets gave away a single game to the Boston Celtics, but it took everything that Jayson Tatum had left to force that win through. All four of Brooklyn’s wins against the Celtics came by double-digits.
Harden, Durant and Irving took turns having big games, and collectively averaged 85.2 PPG against the Celtics in that series. Durant led the way with 32.6 PPG, while Harden had 27.8 PPG and Irving had 24.8 PPG.
The Nets will again rely on their Big Three to carry the day, and Game 1 of this series will be the first time they actually face the Bucks together this season. Here were their numbers against Milwaukee in the regular season:
- Durant – 34.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 4.7 APG (3 games)
- Harden – 34.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 12.0 APG (1 game)
- Irving – 29.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.5 APG (2 games)
The Nets won 1 of 3 games against the Bucks, but again, never with all of their firepower available at the same time. The Brooklyn Nets led the league in offensive rating at 117.3, but the Bucks weren’t far behind in fifth with 116.5.
Brooklyn will be without the services of Jeff Green, who’s been ruled out with a foot injury.
The Nets are 22-17 ATS as the home team, and 17-14 ATS as the home favorite.
ROAD TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (0-0, 0-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Bryn Forbes
- SF: Khris Middleton
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Brook Lopez
Even considering that the Bucks aren’t that far behind in offensive rating to the Nets, their top three players still had astounding numbers against the Nets in the regular season:
- Antetokounmpo – 39.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 5.0 APG (3 games)
- Middleton – 24.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 4.7 APG (3 games)
- Holiday – 21.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.7 APG (3 games)
You didn’t read that wrong. The Bucks’ Big Three averaged 85.4 PPG against the Nets in the regular season, and they played together in all three of those games.
Getting into a firefight with the Nets may actually work in their favor, because while the Bucks were ninth in defensive rating with 110.7, the Nets were far behind in 22nd with a defensive rating of 113.1
The big X-Factor for the Bucks in this series may be Bryn Forbes, who was actually the fourth-leading scorer against the Nets in the regular season with 10.0 PPG. If he can continue his hot shooting (he averaged 15.0 PPG against he Heat and outscored Jimmy Butler), the Nets might have a serious issue stopping the Bucks’ attack. Forbes is probably going to get a lot more minutes as well thanks to Donte DiVincenzo’s season-ending injury.
The Bucks are 16-22 ATS as the away team, and 0-2 ATS as the away underdog.
Spread: It’s a hot take, but I think the Bucks are more than capable of stealing the victory in Brooklyn, and I think they at least cover the +4 spread.
Over/Under: The Nets and Bucks both started their respective Game 1s slow. I think this first game is a feeling-out process that hits under 239.5.