The Milwaukee Bucks squared the series at 2-2 after beating an injury-depleted Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
They’ll look to take the lead at Barclays Center on Tuesday against a team that could be without James Harden and Kyrie Irving, who left Game Four with an ankle sprain.
The Bucks have been able to turn around an 0-2 series deficit and the online bookmaker is siding with the away team on Tuesday.
It could be one of the more intense playoff games to date as the winner takes a huge leap toward the Eastern Conference finals.
Bucks Dig Deep to Even Series
The Bucks were undaunted by an early 11-point deficit as they clawed their way back into the game.
Game Four had all the drama we expected and, although they started poorly, the Bucks found their rhythm after Khris Middleton dropped a four-point play midway through the second quarter.
It was the catalyst for a 19-2 run, which culminated in Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving leaving the game with an ankle injury. However, the Bucks appeared to be in control and it was Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way with 34 points.
“We’re very happy, but we’ve got to keep getting better, keep playing together and hopefully we can go into Brooklyn and take one,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN.
It’s a best of three. LFG!!! pic.twitter.com/tb6gPxhYlx
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 13, 2021
The Greek Freak is right. Milwaukee needs to get better to progress to the Eastern Conference finals. Going in its favor is having P.J .Tucker guard Kevin Durant with expert skill.
The journeyman has made it tough for Durant to get open shots. He also forced multiple dribbling turnovers from Durant.
“At this stage, it’s whatever it takes to win the game,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It certainly helps to get more guys contributing, making shots. P.J. Tucker was phenomenal on both ends of the court.”
The Bucks are starting to gather belief and so are NBA betting markets. They are favored to win Game Five despite playing on the road. However, the early betting lines are likely due to the injury concerns of the Nets.
Will KD Have Help?
It’s the big question and it can be tough for bettors not knowing which players are likely to play. It has plagued the NBA season and it’s the case again as Irving and James Harden’s status are up in the air.
Durant would love help from both players but he’d happily take one. Losing Irving would be a bigger issue than not getting Harden back. Irving has orchestrated the Nets offense and without him on court, the Nets are nothing more than a spot-up shooting team.
P.J. Tucker held Kevin Durant to 9 points and 25 percent FG as his primary defender 🔐 pic.twitter.com/0nnOhC8hBo
ESPN (@espn) June 13, 2021
They don’t often win playoff games, so the Nets will have to play tough and grind out a difficult victory in front of home fans.
Harden isn’t far off returning, according to reports. He could provide an instant spark on offense, but he is a defensive liability and there is the rust factor to consider.
Whichever lineup the Nets go with, coach coach Steve Nash needs to address momentum. The Nets were cruising in Game Four, but in the blink of an eye the double-digit lead was gone. It happens all too often, so calming his players down in those moments will be key.
Bucks vs Nets Betting Trends
The Bucks have a dominant spread record against the Nets. They are 30-14-1 in the last 45 meetings and they are 16-5-1 ATS in the last 22 meetings in Brooklyn.
They are 4-1 ATS in the last five playoff games as a favorite and the Nets are 3-7 in their last 10 playoff games as an underdog. Adding to that, the Nets are 0-4 in their last four games as an underdog.
However, Brooklyn is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 home games and 10-1 ATS when the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game.
The under is 6-0 in the last six meetings and we are seeing low-scoring games in this series.
Bucks vs Nets Pick
If the Nets were healthy they would be our pick. However, there is too much uncertainty with Harden and Irving, so we’re picking the Bucks to win on the road.
Milwaukee also has momentum after winning consecutive games and this team is capable of kicking on with it.
There is a possibility Kevin Durant could be the only superstar on the court. If that’s the case, expect the line to change considerably. Therefore, we’re happy to lock in the current odds.