Bucks vs Nets Game 5 Preview and Predictions
Bucks vs Nets Game 5 Preview and Predictions: After falling behind 0-2 in their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series versus the Brooklyn Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks have stormed back and won both games at the home arena Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks and Nets now head back to Barclays Center in Brooklyn with the series tied at 2 games apiece.
Bucks vs Nets – Series Recap and Game 5 Preview
Although Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have been playing more spirited basketball in the last two games, it’s hard not to think their better play has been due to the missing pieces on their opponent’s roster.
Brooklyn has been bit by the injury bug once again, and with it now happening in the playoffs, the Nets have nowhere to run, and no time to relax.
James Harden has been out since 43 seconds into their Game 1 victory with a reaggravated hamstring injury. Harden missed 20 games during the regular season due to hamstring issues.
And if losing James Harden wasn’t enough, Kyrie Irving is now dealing with a sprained right ankle and has been ruled out for this pivotal Game 5 matchup. Irving suffered the right ankle injury with 5:52 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly on Antetokounmpo’s foot causing his ankle to buckle.
The loss of Harden and Irving has left Brooklyn with only one member of their Big Three (Kevin Durant) to compete with Giannis, Khris Middleton, and the Bucks on Tuesday night. The Nets will need a big-time performance from the “slim reaper” if they want to take a 3-2 series lead.
Despite the loss of two of their best players, The Nets were dealt some good news on the injury front recently with the return of role player Jeff Green. Green returned to action in Game 4 tallying 8 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
With Kyrie and Harden both ruled out for Game 5, Green and other role players such as Blake Griffin and Joe Harris will have to step up in their absence.
While Brooklyn has been dealing with on-court injuries, the Bucks have found their winning formula.
In Games 1-3, Milwaukee only averaged about 10 makes from three point range per game. In Game 4, the Bucks exploded from distance, pouring in 48 points from deep on 16-47 shooting (34 percent).
While that percentage is not amazing, the shots that fell through seemed to lead to big momentum shifts for the Bucks offense with their home crowd backing them. Khris Middleton, who has been cold from deep in this series went 3-8 in Sunday night’s game. If Milwaukee can consistently hit shots from behind the arc, they will be dangerous on offense.
Bucks vs Nets Game 5 Prediction
Kevin Durant holds a -36 plus-minus in Game 5’s when the series is tied at two games apiece. But something about this game tells me the best and most fluid scorer the NBA has seen this century will pick up his game and put in a performance for the ages.
He is shooting 25% from three-point range this series and it is very hard to believe that he will continue to do that poorly. He shot 1-8 in Game 5 from deep.
With Brooklyn having virtually no one else to lean on for shot-creating and offense, Kevin Durant will have to create his own shot and start the movement for the Nets. Look for him to get shooters such as Jeff Green and Joe Harris involved, and to feed Blake Griffin when he needs help.
Milwaukee is also 36-44 against the spread this season and even worse on the road at 16-24. In the previous two games in Brooklyn, they failed to cover the spread.
Points will also be hard to come by. The teams have failed to cover the over in their four contests so far, and with Irving out, points will be at even more of a premium. The total has dropped from 223.5 to 217 since Irving was ruled out.
Even though almost everything points to Milwaukee taking control and advantage of this series due to their increased play and the injury losses of the Nets besides ATS records, something inside me believes the Nets will keep this one interesting.
If the Nets can steal this game, they have the ability to rest both Harden and Kyrie for Game 6, in hopes of returning them back healthier in a potential Game 7.
With all of that being said, I’m going with my gut feeling and trusting the best scorer in the NBA in Kevin Durant.
Final Picks: Nets +4.5 (-110) Under 217 (-110). Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.