The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 3 in the Eastern Conference semis, which shapes as must-win for Milwaukee Bucks up against Brooklyn Nets.
09:30 (AEST), Fri 11th Jun @ Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
History: Played 196: Bucks 113 V Nets 83
Last meeting: June 7, 2021 (Game 2): Nets 125 d Bucks 86 at Barclays Center
Final Thoughts: The semi-finals series between Eastern Conference big dogs Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets heads to Cream City for Game 3 – and the hosts desperately need to get off the mark.
The Nets arrived in the second round after breezing past the Celtics in five games, their four wins all coming by 11-plus margins. The Bucks swept the Heat 4-0, the last three wins achieved by 17-plus points.
Brooklyn claimed a 115-107 victory in Game 1 after pulling away in the third quarter. They lost James Harden after less than a minute, but Kevin Durant (29 pts, 10 reb), Kyrie Irving (25 pts, 8 ast) and Blake Griffin (18 pts, 14 reb) carried the Nets through.
Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 34 points and 11 rebounds for Milwaukee.
Despite Harden’s absence, the Nets blew out the Bucks 125-86 in Game 2. Durant (32 pts, 6 ast) and Irving (22 pts, 6 ast) took the reins, while the team shot 21 from 42 three-point attempts. Eight of the Nets’ three-pointers came from their bench contingent.
Giannis top-scored again for the beaten Bucks but could only manage 18 points – and his free-throw shooting (2 from 9 in the series) remains an issue. He’s also getting limited support from his teammates, with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday shooting poorly. The Bucks went just 8-for-27 from deep in Game 2.
Harden’s hamstring has ruled him out of Game 3. The Bucks are $1.60 favourites at home – where they boast a 28-10 record this season – but need significant improvement at both ends of the court.
The Nets’ current momentum, underpinned by KD and co’s offensive dominance, is hard to resist when they’re juicy outsiders.
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