The Milwaukee Bucks and visiting Brooklyn Nets meet for the second time in three days and the winner takes the season series.
There was no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo on Sunday when he dropped 49 points. He might need a similar effort to see off the Nets, who look strong with Kevin Durant back in the lineup.
It doesn’t get much better in the Eastern Conference and these games become more important as the playoffs get closer.
Milwaukee is the slight online sports betting favorite, so we could be in for another close game.
Does Giannis Need 49 Again?
There wasn’t much The Greek Freak couldn’t do when scoring 49 points in Milwaukee’s 117-114 victory. There was no interior defender capable of keeping him at bay and DeAndre Jordan wasn’t quick enough on his feet.
Despite Antetokounmpo’s outstanding game, the Bucks won by only three points. Therefore, does he need a huge scoring game again for the Bucks to win? Or will Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday step up and relieve the pressure?
“You want to be a part of games like this,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN following the game. “Growing up, you want to play against the best. And coming down to the wire, going back and forth, that’s what you always dreamed about.”
He came out ahead of Kevin Durant, who was no scrub with 42 points on 16-of-33 shooting. Durant had a chance to tie the game with the last shot, but it came up short.
“You want to gauge yourself against the best defender, best team defense, best coaching,” Durant said. “That’s the only way you’ll get better as a player. So, I get excited and I relish these opportunities, and we do as a team.”
We don’t think Antetokounmpo needs 49 points to score consecutive wins over the Nets, but he will need to match Durant.
Losses Don’t Bother Nets
It has become a strange trend in the NBA where players don’t always care if they win or lose. That was the feeling we got on Sunday when Durant missed the game-tying shot, because the loss doesn’t make much difference.
The Nets are likely to finish in the top two and they’re not a team worried about who they’re going to face in the first round. The only worry would be facing a team like the Boston Celtics, but the Nets will be confident no matter the matchup.
However, the Nets will want to win this game. Losing two in a row against a conference rival isn’t ideal form as the playoffs approach so expect a better defensive effort.
Brooklyn looked good early on when establishing a 14-point lead in the first quarter. Milwaukee then went on a significant run to lead at halftime and put the game away late.
The East has its first playoff team.
YOUR 𝐁𝐑𝐎𝐎𝐊𝐋𝐘𝐍 𝐍𝐄𝐓𝐒. pic.twitter.com/HUp3VAiiqN
Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 28, 2021
The three-point loss was a good sign for the Nets because they didn’t play overly well. Durant got his shots, but Brooklyn was sloppy for most of the first half. If the Nets knuckle down and play some defense, they could win the title.
It’s still a big if because allowing 115.2 points per game isn’t a winning statistic, even if less NBA teams are focusing on defense. Milwaukee allows just 112.6 points and scores more on average than the Nets, which should concern coach Steve Nash.
Brooklyn hasn’t had a healthy lineup for some time and beating a fully fit Bucks team is not an easy task.
Nets vs Bucks Betting Trends
The Bucks have dominated against the spread (ATS) in recent meetings. They are 28-11-1 ATS against the Nets and they have been even harder to beat at home.
Milwaukee is 4-1 ATS in the last five games after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game. The defense likes to improve after allowing a bigger total, so expect a more stringent defensive structure this time around.
The Nets enjoy playing with one day’s rest. They are 5-1 ATS in their last six games playing on one day of rest, so expect a fitter Nets team to come out firing.
They have lost three games straight only once this season, so going on losing streaks isn’t commonplace for Brooklyn.
Nets vs Bucks Game Pick
It’s not easy betting against a team like Brooklyn, but the Bucks match up well and they don’t often lose at Fiserv Forum.
They have all the momentum after beating Chicago and Brooklyn, and scoring back-to-back wins over the Nets would go down nicely in front of home fans.
NBA lines have the Bucks as slight favorites, but expect money to come for them on game day.
We like the three-headed monster of Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Middleton. We expect them all to play well and if they can get shots knocked down from Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez, that’s an added bonus.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -130