Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets Playoff Previewby Charlie Parent June 4, 2021 0 comments
The second round of the NBA playoffs is now upon us and what a matchup we have here. The Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo face off against the Brooklyn Nets and their big three. The Bucks are coming off of a 4-0 sweep of the Miami Heat in a series where a lot of people were surprised by. After last year’s upset by the Heat, many thought they would put up a better fight than they did. For Brooklyn, they just beat the Boston Celtics 4-1 and only lost one because of a 50-point performance from Jayson Tatum.
This series is filled with true superstars in the league. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Antetokounmpo have all won an MVP award at least once in their careers. On top of that, players like Kyrie Irving, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are all stars in their own right. This series is bound to be an absolute thriller and it should go back and forth throughout.
Milwaukee Bucks: +170
Brooklyn Nets: -210
These odds are not as close as some may have predicted. The Nets aren’t heavy favorites but they’re still pretty high. The odds for the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers series are actually closer and that is a one seed against a five seed. The Nets at -210 here makes taking them a bit of a stay away. With how unpredictable this series may be, taking the risk for a low payout does not seem to be the best move. Betting the Bucks has a bit of a higher-payout involved, obviously, but, once again, the risk and unknowns of this series make it too close to really find a lock.
Where some money could be made is the prop bets. The odds for this series to go to six games is +175, which is a pretty good value bet. If one of these teams gets swept or only wins one game, it will be a shocker. Now this series could easily go seven games, but six games is a pretty safe bet.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Steve Nash
A player verse a coach is a key matchup? Yes. As of now, we don’t know who Nash will put on Antetokounmpo to guard him, and it’s quite a difficult decision. Durant may not have the strength to match up with him and it seems the only other option would be Nick Claxton. Claxton might not be able to keep up with Antetokounmpo in transition, which will create problems for the Nets. The Nets will lose this series if they can’t come up with a way to defend Antetokounmpo, and it will be fun to watch what they do right off the bat.
Jrue Holiday vs. Kyrie Irving & James Harden
Another weird matchup here. It’s unknown if Holiday will guard Irving or Harden yet but either one is obviously quite the challenge. One of the better perimeter defenders in the league, Holiday will be tasked with slowing down one of these superstars, to give Milwaukee a chance in this series. The last thing the Bucks can afford is Brooklyn’s big three getting hot early and Holiday is a huge factor in that. If Holiday can limit one of these two, the Bucks should be a major threat in this one.
Khris Middleton vs. Kevin Durant
If Durant doesn’t draw the assignment of Antetokounmpo, he’ll likely be placed on Middleton. This would be a very interesting battle between two very offensive-minded players. Durant wasn’t able to handle Tatum last series and often needed double teams to help him. These two could be going back and forth offensively all series and that would be very favorable for Brooklyn, as Durant is the better player. This matchup only works because of Nash, however, and who he decides to place on Antetokounmpo. After deciding that, all the dominoes will fall.
Milwaukee Bucks X-Factor: Jrue Holiday
This was hinted at a bit earlier but the X-factor has to be Holiday here. The Bucks are relying on his defense to get them past the Nets, but also need him to score a good amount. However, if Holiday is exerting that much effort on both sides of the floor, he will get fatigued quickly. It’s all about how he can handle this fatigue, stay determined, and focus on his game. If he can get up to his average of 18 points per game, and play solid defense throughout, then he’s done his job and given his team a fighting chance.
Brooklyn Nets X-Factor: Joe Harris
We all know the Nets’ big three are going to go out on the court and put in at least 60 points a night, so it all comes down to who else can chip in. Harris is the fourth leading scorer on the Nets with just over 14 points per game. He’s one of the premier shooters in the NBA and is a threat every night. With Milwaukee turning their defensive attention to Harden, Durant, and Irving, Harris has a really nice opportunity to put in some big numbers, and they need him to. If he can produce as he has been this season, the Nets are in great shape for this series.
Prediction: Nets 4, Bucks 2
At the end of the day, Brooklyn’s trio is just too much for the Bucks to handle. Yes, there are concerns about shutting down Antetokounmpo but he’s just one player. If the Bucks want to win, their supporting cast will need to really outdo themselves, and it’s hard to see that happening for at least four games. With a win here, the Nets advance to the conference finals where they become one step closer to their first championship.
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