After jumping out to a series lead with a pair of convincing home wins, the Brooklyn Nets knew it wasn’t going to be easy putting the Milwaukee Bucks away. The Bucks were the third-seed for a reason and they leveled the Eastern Conference semifinal winning the last two at home, including a 107-96 triumph on Sunday. The Nets may have lost more than a game and the series lead, though.
The status of Kyrie Irving is up in the air after an ankle injury forced him out of the game. The Nets are still hopeful James Harden can get back on the floor. The Beard hasn’t played since the first minute of Game 1. The series has been reduced to a best-of-three with the Nets hosting Game 5 on Tuesday.
This NBA playoff game takes place on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 and will air live on TNT with tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET from Barclays Center.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Brooklyn Nets Game 5 Odds
Spread: Milwaukee Bucks -3 | Brooklyn Nets +3 [BET NOW]
Money Line: Milwaukee Bucks –154 | Brooklyn Nets +133 [BET NOW]
Total: 219 [BET NOW]
Season to Date
The Bucks weren’t about to fold after losing the first two games of the series. If anything the 125-86 shellacking they took in Game 2 was a wakeup call. After all we’re not talking about a mismatch between the teams. They were separated by just two games in the standings and the Bucks won two of three regular season meetings. So, yeah, it was a surprise that they were blown out.
The Bucks held serve at home winning the last two and seized momentum now that the Nets could be without two-thirds of their Big Three. Still, Milwaukee has to perform better than it did in the first two games when their offense was sluggish. The Bucks led the NBA in scoring during the regular season but they have yet to score more than 107 points in this series. They are averaging 96.5 points, nearly 24 points below their season average with the UNDER going 4-0.
The Nets played only a handful of games with their Big Three on the floor after acquiring Harden in January. They still won 48 games finishing as the No. 2 seed in the East, so they did something right. Harden played the first minute of Game 1 before going on the shelf and he could be joined by Irving for the crucial Game 5.
Oddsmakers were hesitant to post a line waiting to get some clarity on the injury situation. Facing a desperate Bucks team in Game 3, the Nets overcame a big deficit and were in position to win until Milwaukee scored the final six points. That game, like the series, was dominated by defense. And the Nets could have more difficulty scoring the basketball with Irving sidelined.
Even though their offense has been stagnant, the Bucks knotted the series knowing they haven’t played their best ball yet. And they got more balance in their play on Sunday, something that makes them dangerous. You don’t average over 120 points during the regular season relying on one guy, even if that guy is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis and Khris Middleton combined for 68 points in Game 3, which was 79 percent of the production.
Giannis had 34 on Sunday with Middleton chipping in 19. But it was the output of other players that excited the Bucks. Jrue Holiday had 14 points, P.J. Tucker 13 and Bryn Forbes added 10. “At this stage it’s whatever it takes to win the game. It certainly helps to get more guys contributing, making shots,” Mike Budenholzer said.
Winning a championship isn’t easy as the Nets are finding out. There’s a good chance both Harden and Irving will miss Game 5 making the job even more difficult. But the Nets have been good at home and they will rely on that advantage, and a strong defense, to move closer to advancing. They are 5-0 SU and ATS at home this postseason and 8-0 SU and ATS dating back to the regular season.
More pressure will be on Durant for offense. He tallied 28 points on Sunday, his lowest output of the series, going just 9 of 25 from the field and 1 of 8 from behind the arc. Irving was the only other player to reach double figures and he was out before halftime. X-rays taken after the game showed no structural damage and Irving’s status for Game 5 is uncertain. “We’ll have to see how it goes. We’ll cross our fingers,” Steve Nash said.
Bucks vs Nets Game 5 Prediction
Our best bet: Nets +3 and UNDER 219
Just when you think one team has momentum it doesn’t. That’s why the Bucks have to be wary heading into Game 5. The likelihood of Harden and Irving not playing is good, but the Nets have a solid supporting cast that didn’t play well in Milwaukee. Playing at home will help the Nets and I expect them to be ready come Tuesday night.
Check out today’s NBA odds.