It’s not a surprise that the Brooklyn Nets lead the Milwaukee Bucks 2-0 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series, but it is a shock how easily the Nets won those games essentially without James Harden. He will not play in Game 3, either, and the Bucks are favored on the NBA odds.
How to Bet Nets at Bucks NBA Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 7:30 PM ET
- Where: Fiserv Forum
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: ESPN app
- NBA Odds: Bucks -3.5 (total 235)
Why Bet on Brooklyn? | Betting Odds for NBA
Nets star guard James Harden went down in the first minute of Game 1 with a hamstring injury and didn’t play in Game 2. It’s not even clear if he will in this series. He has been ruled out for this one. The fact that this is Harden’s second hamstring injury of the year affects the timeline for his return. Harden missed 20 games during the regular season with a right hamstring strain.
Brooklyn destroyed the Bucks in Game 2 on Monday, 125-86 – leading wire-to-wire in the largest playoff margin of victory in franchise history. The Nets jumped out to a 17-point lead at the end of the first quarter and stretched that to 27 before they got to halftime. The lead was as big as 49.
Brooklyn’s offensive rating for the game was 133.0 points per 100 possessions, its second highest of the postseason and the fifth time the Nets came in at 125.0 points or higher through seven games. They’re scoring 128.5 points per 100 possessions, well above their league-leading, record-setting rate of the regular season of 117.3.
Kevin Durant scored 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the floor with six assists and four rebounds. Brooklyn set a franchise record for made three-pointers in Game 2 with 21, of which Durant contributed four. Through the Nets’ two easy wins over the Bucks, Durant has gone a combined 24-of-43 (55.8 percent) from the field.
Kyrie Irving added 22 points, six assists and five rebounds. Irving surpassed the 20-point mark for the fourth straight playoff game and handled well the role of being the primary playmaker and ballhandler with James Harden (hamstring) sidelined. Irving is averaging 24.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during the current postseason run.
Bruce Brown got the start for Harden and had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. Through essentially two games without Harden, the Nets have won by an average of 23.5 points per game.
Veteran Jeff Green hasn’t played in this series yet due to a foot injury suffered in Round 1 vs. Boston and also is out.
Why Bet on Milwaukee? | Betting Odds for NBAMonday’s 125-86 loss was the second-worst in Bucks playoff history. The Bucks looked discombobulated from practically the opening tip, settling for one jumper after another instead of attacking the paint — which, in turn, allowed the Nets to get into a rhythm at the other end.
“There’s certain places we want to attack, certain guys we want to attack with,” Coach Budenholzer said. “[But] we just didn’t play well overall. First quarter, the whole game. … I think we’ve got to play better from start to end.”
Budenholzer has been scrutinized for the Bucks’ struggles to get out of the second round the past two years, and more criticism is surely coming if there isn’t a rally. He could be fired.
Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first shot at the rim on Monday didn’t come until the 7:44 mark of the second quarter. The Nets were ready for the two-time MVP. From the Bucks’ opening possessions, primary defender Blake Griffin bodied up Giannis on his post-ups and drives. Help defenders like Kevin Durant and Bruce Brown dug down and slid into place to make sure he never saw a clear path to the rim.
Antetokounmpo put up a double-double with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, four assists, one block and three turnovers. Antetokounmpo’s free-throw shooting — both volume and efficiency — continues to be near the top of the list. Thus far in the series, he’s just 2-of-10 at the line in 66 minutes.
Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton had 17 points (7-20 FG, 3-8 3Pt), five rebounds and five turnovers in the loss. Coming off of a disastrous Game 1 (6-23 FG), Middleton wasn’t much better in Game 2, as he missed his first eight shots. Middleton failed to get to the free-throw line for the first time since April 15. In Round 1 against Miami, Middleton had three 20-point outings on his way to averaging 21.5 points on 49-41-90 shooting over the four-game sweep.
The Bucks again out-rebounded the Nets and had more points in the paint, but it didn’t matter. The Bucks shot 8-of-27 from three, while Brooklyn shot 21-42. Through two games, Milwaukee is now 14-of-57 from three, good for just 24.5 percent.
A total of 322 times a team has fallen down 2-0 in an NBA best-of-7 series. Only 22 times have those teams come back to win.
- Nets are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Nets are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
- Nets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
- Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff games as a favorite.
- Bucks 122, Nets 119
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