The first game of the Nets-Bucks series was relatively close. That is, until Kevin Durant got hot and they put the game away by the time the third quarter ended. But in Game 2, nothing was ever close. Giannis Antetokounmpo was missing every free throw, and all other shots just clanked off for them.
The Nets were firing on all cylinders, showing no mistakes in their system. It was not a good look for Milwaukee, who kept their lineup the same as it was in Game 1. Some folks have been calling for Giannis to shift to the center spot, with Brook Lopez coming off the bench. But, Mike Budenholzer is not a coach who loves to make big changes during the postseason months.
Brooklyn is looking terrific right now, and the rest of the league needs to be scared. The Nets dominating games is nothing new, but doing it without James Harden in the lineup is just insane. Mike James stepped up in a big way, as Landry Shamet continued to come in and knock down big shots. Blake Griffin also looks like the All-Star he used to be.
If the Bucks are to have any chance of winning, Middleton is going to need to remember how to shoot the basketball. Jrue Holiday needs to elevate his game even further. And Coach Bud will need to make some serious changes to his lineups — because what he is throwing out there is not working in the slightest.
The sportsbook still gave the Bucks the statutory home-court advantage, spotting the Nets four points against the spread in Game 3. Money has since come for the visiting dogs, moving that line to 3½. The total currently sits at 235.
Brooklyn Seeking Commanding 3-0 Lead
Is anybody stopping the Brooklyn Nets? With the entire big three on the floor, Boston managed to win a game. Are the Bucks going to be able to do that? The way it is going right now, they seem totally outmatched. Nothing is going well, and the Superteam from Brooklyn is seemingly unstoppable.
Joe Harris and Blake Griffin have played at a high level, making key plays constantly for their teams. Blake is looking like the player he was once in L.A. He is dunking the ball all over the place, making some jumpers and done a great job on the boards, which we haven’t seen in years.
When you factor in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, there is no losing. Two guys that have won titles already, joining up to form a tandem. They had to wait an extra year to be healthy, but it was obviously worth it. Good for the Nets, who have struggled for a number of years. A 3-0 lead is likely, unless a surprise source guides the Bucks.
Milwaukee Seeking Some Positivity
For three straight seasons, the Bucks have had great success in the regular season. In 2018-19, they finished with the best record in the East. They took a 2-0 lead against Toronto in the conference finals. Then, they lost four games in a row, including three on the road. Last year, Miami took them out in five, a team made for the bubble.
Finishing as the three seed this year, Milwaukee looked great but now the Bucks are in real trouble. They have a great lineup, even with Donte DiVincenzo not in it. Jrue has been a great find, and is locked up for another four years. Giannis continues to dominate, though his foul-shooting is as bad as any player in the NBA.
Middleton has been a major issue for the team, clearly forgetting how to shoot. For back-to-back games, he has shot it horribly. He is unable to do anything of note on the court, and it hurts to watch. Given how great he played in round one, it has come as a major shock that he’s played as poorly as he has.
If the Bucks want to win Game 3, they have to make adjustments. The roar of the Milwaukee crowd by itself will not be enough. The players have to be better, and there are no excuses. Because if they lose the series (and this game), Coach Bud may be on the outs.
The Nets Will Win Again
It is hard to have faith in the Bucks, it really is. That’s why the pick here is Brooklyn. They have been so good. They have no flaws. And Jeff Green and Harden being out isn’t even slowing them down.