The Bucks refused to lose in front of their home fans, and forced the Game 7 thanks to a huge game from Khris Middleton. Can they get their first away win of the series to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals?
Catch this game live on Sunday, June 20, at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (3-3, 3-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: James Harden
- SG: Joe Harris
- SF: Bruce Brown
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Blake Griffin
The Nets will again be without Kyrie Irving according to coach Steve Nash, which means they will once again have to rely on Kevin Durant and a one-legged James Harden in the winner-takes-all matchup against the Bucks.
Durant still got his buckets in Game 6 and led his team with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists on 15 of 30 shooting. However, he struggled from deep and shot 2 of 8 while also turning the ball over 7 times. The Bucks are able to focus heavily on him because of his missing co-stars.
James Harden had an efficient game, with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals on 5 of 9 shooting. He is clearly hobbled, though, and is playing simply because the Nets are desperate to stay alive. After playing 46 minutes in Game 5, then 40 minutes in Game 6, you have to wonder if Harden’s hamstring might give way in Game 7.
To make it to the next round, the Nets are going to need a lot more from their main supporting case, as Jeff Green, Blake Griffin, Joe Harris and Landry Shamet combined for 28 points.
The Nets are 12-15 ATS after a loss and 25-17 ATS as the home team.
ROAD TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (3-3, 0-3 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Khris Middleton
- SF: P.J. Tucker
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Brook Lopez
Khris Middleton has struggled with his shot for most of the series, but he found himself having his best playoff career game in Game 6 with 38 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals while shooting 11 of 16 from the field, 5 of 8 from three and 11 of 12 from the free throw line. This is the Middleton that needs to show up again in Game 7, because as hobbled as the Nets are, Kevin Durant showed in Game 5 that he has a supreme will to win. The Bucks will not advance if Middleton struggles in Game 7.
Giannis Antetokounmpo also had himself a fine Game 6, finishing with 30 points, 17 rebounds and 3 assists along with 3 turnovers. More importantly, he played more within his offensive limitations and did not shoot a single three-pointer. His atrocious long-range shots these playoffs are a detriment to the Bucks but he spent more time attacking the basket and using his superior athleticism in the series-tying victory. They’ll need more of that from him.
Jrue Holiday also struggled with his shot again, going 8 of 21 from the field, but his contribution of 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals was pivotal for the Bucks. He’s got to be hoping that he shoots better from three, though, as he channeled his inner-Giannis and went 1 of 10 from beyond the arc.
The Bucks are 24-28 ATS after a win, and are 16-25 ATS as the away team.
Spread: It’s such a tight game, but I think health issues are going to be what dooms the Nets. I’d take the Bucks to cover the +1 spread.
Over/Under: I think it the enormity of the do-or-die situation makes both teams play much harder on defense, so I’m going with the under 215.