This second-round series between the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks has been full of surprises. What do they have in store for NBA fans in Game 5? Who moves closer to clinching a ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, June 16, at 8:30 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (2-2, 2-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mike James
- SG: Joe Harris
- SF: Bruce Brown
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Blake Griffin
It’s time to find out how far Durant can carry the Nets without Kyrie Irving and James Harden — at least for Game 5 of this series. Irving, who hurt his ankle in Game 4’s 107-96 road loss to Milwaukee, has already been ruled out for Game 5, with his status beyond that still up in the air.
Harden is also still out with a hamstring problem. If you’re into schadenfreude, you must be loving what’s happening to Brooklyn. Then again, they still have arguably the best player on the planet in Kevin Durant. The former MVP struggled with his shot in Game 4, finishing with 28 points on an inefficient 9 of 25 shooting from the field.
A lot has been said about how PJ Tucker made it tough for KD in Game 4, but would you really trust his defense over Durant’s offense in a pivotal contest?
Durant doesn’t need Blake Griffin and Joe Harris to explode in lieu of Harden and Irving, but if those two could at least provide better numbers than they did in Game 4, the Nets should be fine at home against Milwaukee. The Nets are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as the home team.
ROAD TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (2-2, 0-2 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Khris Middleton
- SF: PJ Tucker
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Brook Lopez
Milwaukee went from being deers in the headlights to smelling blood in the water. The Bucks have completely flipped the script to take control of the series. Sure, it’s still 2-2, but they’re headed to Game 5 coming off a win.
Plus, they’re now fully aware of the dreadful situation the Nets are in, with Kyrie and Harden both sidelined. Without those two, the Bucks can turn their focus on slowing down Durant. While the Nets will not have their super trio complete this Wednesday, the Bucks have theirs. Giannis Antetokounpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday should be able to capitalize on the major absences on the other side.
The Greek Freak has been the most consistent of them all in the second round, with Antetokounpo averaging 33.5 points on 49.1 FG%, though he will have to tone down on his outside shooting, as he’s mostly just been wasting possessions whenever he pulls up from behind the arc.
If there’s a game in this series in which the Bucks’ triumvirate of Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday will go off simultaneously, this has got to be it, as they look to push a banged-up Brooklyn squad to the edge. The Bucks are 17-8 ATS in their last 25 Wednesday (Manila) games.
Even with the Nets down to only one superstar, I expect them to put up a fight in Game 5. They’re playing at home with a more concentrated game plan, accounting for the absence of Kyrie and Harden together. Take the Nets to cover +4.
Every game in the series has gone Under so far, but with Kyrie and Harden unavailable, the totals line has been greatly reduced compared to the past ones. Take the Over (217.0)