Despite drifting significantly at the online sportsbook, the Nets produced an almighty effort to beat the Bucks 125-86. The drift was due to James Harden’s absence but it mattered for nothing.
Milwaukee now needs to pick up the pieces and hope home-court advantage is a real thing. Significant changes are needed to keep this series from getting away from the Bucks, but beating the Nets isn’t easy.
Brooklyn Goes Bang
Despite having one of its superstars on the sidelines, Brooklyn pulled out all the stops on Monday.
The 39-point win was never in doubt as the Nets established a first-quarter lead and never relinquished it. It was one of the most dominant playoff performances in recent history as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant sliced through the defense.
Shooting 50% from behind the 3-point line and 52.1% from the field will get it done in most games. Brooklyn was on fire and it’s not surprising given the form it showed throughout the season.
Joe Harris and Bruce Brown combined for 26 points and Air Griffin was cleared for takeoff. Griffin had just seven points, but he provided some entertainment with standout dunks.
Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 8, 2021
They didn’t miss Harden, who left Game 1 after one minute. However, they would love to get him back as they travel to Milwaukee.
“When he gets back I think we’ll hopefully try to do the same thing, play hard, play physical and when he comes back, he’ll fit right into the mold because he’s ready,” Nets guard Bruce Brown told Forbes. “We can’t wait to have him back. We’re just going to be locked in, we gotta do the same thing in Milwaukee.”
Stopping the Nets when they’re on a roll isn’t easy. They have made the Bucks look second-rate so far and a change in geography might not be enough to see the tables turned.
Every Bucks starter was kept to under 19 points, which is a quality defensive performance. Scoring 125 points is one thing, but limiting the Bucks to under 87 points is a sure-fire way for playoff success.
Will Returning Home Help Milwaukee?
Milwaukee’s demons are coming back. Playoff success has been hard to come by for the Bucks, which haven’t changed the way they approach the game.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results doesn’t end well, which is the predicament the Bucks are in. They haven’t changed anything from last season, so why should we expect them to improve?
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored only 18 points in Game 2 and he looked lost. He was 0-3 from three, which he needs to do away with, and he made only 2-7 free throws.
The biggest disappointments were Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. Middleton went 7-20 and had the worst plus/minus of any Bucks player on the court. Lopez scored 10 points and was never a factor.
Its a best of seven. pic.twitter.com/OeEVbwPuGd
Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 8, 2021
We are struggling to see where the Bucks can improve to turn around a 39-point drubbing. The Greek Freak could score 40 points, but NBA defenses are getting better at clogging up the paint. He’s not good enough from the outside to force the defense to push up, and his teammates aren’t making enough outside shots.
Returning home to Fiserv Forum could be the catalyst to turn the series around. However, NBA betting lines might be overrating this Bucks outfit. They are 2½-point favorites, which is a 42½-point turnaround from Game 2.
We’re not doubting the Bucks ability to bounce back, but we don’t see the Nets getting any worse, so they’ll need to rise to the occasion to prolong the series.
The Bucks’ struggles in the postseason continued on Monday and they are now 1-6 against the spread in their last seven conference semifinals games.
They do have a historical edge over the Nets at 29-13-1 ATS, but that statistic is beginning to trend in the other direction.
The Nets are 9-1 ATS following a win and playing on the road hasn’t been a huge issue. They are 21-17 away from home and 20-18 ATS.
We don’t think returning home will make much difference to the Bucks. They have been severely outplayed and scoring totals of 107 and 86 hasn’t caused a lasting impression.
Brooklyn’s offense is firing on all cylinders and it’s not like this team needed confidence. Irving is controlling the tempo beautifully and, along with Durant, playing silky smooth basketball.
Bettors get generous odds in the moneyline and points to spread markets. The Nets are worth taking in both and we see this series going 3-0. While the line has come down a point to the current 2½, smart bettors might wait for money to come back on the Bucks before jumping on.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets +130