The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 5 as the injury-hit Brooklyn Nets try to stop Milwaukee Bucks from taking their first lead of the series.
10:30 (AEST), Wed 16th Jun @ Barclays Center, Brooklyn
History: Played 198: Bucks 115 V Nets 83
Last meeting: June 14, 2021 (Game 4): Bucks 107 d Nets 96 at Fiserv Forum
Final Thoughts: The Eastern Conference’s heavyweight semi-final showdown heads back to Brooklyn for a pivotal Game 5. After dropping the first two games on the road, the Bucks pegged back to level in Milwaukee – and the pressure valve turns up just a bit on the Nets.
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. Giannis top-scored again for the beaten Bucks but could only manage 18 points. The Bucks went just 8-for-27 from deep in Game 2, with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday shooting poorly.
A return to their home court turned things around for the Bucks…but it was far from smooth sailing in an 86-83 defensive slugfest. Milwaukee blew a 21-point lead before rallying with the last six points of the night. Middleton (35 pts, 15 reb) responded with a huge performance, proving the ideal foil for Antetokounmpo (33 pts, 14 reb). Durant (30 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast) was the Nets’ standout.
The Bucks tied the series with a 107-86 victory in Game 4. Giannis (34 pts, 12 reb) and Middelton (19 pts, 8 ast) again led the way but received solid support. Meanwhile, the Nets’ injury crisis deepened with Kyrie Irving limping off, leaving KD (28 pts, 13 reb, 5 ast) to carry the can.
The Nets have confirmed Irving will not play in Game 5, but Harden is hopeful of returning. The Bucks were $1.50 favourites against a depleted home side when both were expected to miss the clash but have eased out to $1.71. Nevertheless, the visitors look a good option to cover after a couple of improved outings.