Brooklyn (2-1) at Milwaukee (1-2)
When: Sunday, June 13th, 2021
Where: Fiserv Forum,
Time: 3:00 ET | TV: ABC
Opening Odds: Brooklyn -2/230
If the Milwaukee Bucks can mix in a little more offense to go along with stifling defense they displayed on Thursday, then this Eastern Conference Semifinals series might play out longer. Milwaukee’s defense saved the season in Game 3, when they held the Brooklyn Nets to just 83 points in the three-point victory to avoid going down the dreaded 3-0 hole. Game 4 takes place Sunday afternoon at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. After allowing 115 and 125 points in the first two games of the series in Brooklyn, the Bucks limited the Nets to 36.2 percent shooting, but needed a 6-0 run in the closing 1:23 to seal the win. The Bucks won despite hitting just 6-of-31 from beyond the arc, but did limit the Nets to 8-of-32. The Bucks dominated Game 3 early on, scoring the first nine points of the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo had seven of the nine, including a pair of dunks. The Nets didn’t score until Bruce Brown hit a short jumper almost four minutes into the game. Brooklyn missed its first seven shots, including four 3-pointers. Both teams’ benches were unable to contribute, with the Nets getting seven points from the reserves to Milwaukee’s six. The Nets again played without star guard James Harden, who is nursing a tight right hamstring. Brooklyn ended up covering the closing line of 3.5 and are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings with the Bucks.
Without Harden, Kevin Durant led the way with 30 points with 11 rebounds, five assists, and four steals, while Kyrie Irving provided 22 points. Brown was solid in recording 16 points and 11 rebound, but Brooklyn will still need to get more from its role players including Blake Griffin, who only had five points in 30 minutes. Joe Harris missed 10 of his 11 shots from the field to finish with three points. The Nets are trailing Milwaukee in the series in terms of rebounding average but had a 50-49 advantage in Game 3. The Nets are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games in the second round. They are also 6-1 against the spread in their last seven as the favorite.
Khris Middleton finally had a big game in this series, scoring 35 points on 12-of-25 shooting from the field to give Antetokounmpo the kind of scoring support he needs. The Greek Freak finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds, though he shot just 1-of-8 from long range. He needs to focus more on getting to the basket. Jrue Holiday finished with nine points including the go-ahead layup with 11 seconds left in Game 3. The Bucks are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight home games against a team with a winning road record.
Milwaukee is still struggling on offense and I don’t see the Nets scoring below 100 points again. I fully expect Durant and Irving to outplay Antetokounmpo and Middleton and get back home up 3-1.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Nets -1.5