Bucks @ Nets Prediction: Bet Milwaukee for the series
18:51 Saturday 5th June 2021 - 4 minute read
After over a week of multiple playoff games per day, we only get one for our viewing pleasure Saturday night when the Brooklyn Nets host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Brooklyn Nets made quick work of the Boston Celtics in Round 1, getting the gentleman’s sweep of 4-1 to win the series. There was plenty of drama to go around after Kyrie Irving stomped on the head of Lucky at midcourt in the Boston Garden.
That was accompanied with the water bottle incident that saw a fan get arrested for throwing a half-full water bottle at Irving.
On the other side, the Milwaukee Bucks made quick work of the Miami Heat, suffocating Jimmy Butler after he had one of the best seasons of his career. I think that sweep did a lot for Milwaukee’s confidence, especially after falling to that hot-shooting Miami team in the bubble last season.
I’ve been waiting for this series for awhile now, and couldn’t be more excited to see it play out.
When I first joined the site, I wrote about Brooklyn winning the east and shortly followed with a hedge pick of Milwaukee +350.
Just less than a month later, we have those two teams facing off for a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line. In this piece I’ll give my pick for Game 1 as well as the series bet.
Milwaukee has a potential answer for everything Brooklyn can throw at them. Jrue Holiday is going to be on Kyrie like glue and I think is the biggest matchup to watch in this series. After that, we have Giannis guarding Kevin Durant.
If you remember those games they played about a month ago against each other, there was a different look in Giannis’ eye, something I hadn’t seen before. He’s won the last two Most Valuable Player Awards, but still isn’t in the discussion for best in the league. That title is still reserved for guys like Durant, LeBron, Kawhi and maybe even Luka Doncic.
I think he takes this series personally and does everything he can to take KD out of the picture. While doing that is almost impossible, Giannis has the best chance of anyone who has had to guard KD this season of doing that. I don’t remember KD getting his jumper blocked ever, but Giannis did.
Khris Middleton will likely be tasked with guarding James Harden for much of this series and I think this is where the difference comes in. We didn’t get to see Harden in either of Brooklyn’s matchups with the Bucks.
I know Brooklyn has three of the game’s best shot makers on their team, but I think them not playing together and their lack of cohesiveness will rear its head at some point. We just saw that in the Lakers-Suns series. The LA team hadn’t played with all of its players for a long enough period of time with both LeBron and Anthony Davis missing extended time late in the season.
While I don’t think anyone from Brooklyn is being hindered by any type of injury at the moment, a lot of their offense down the stretch and against Boston was a lot of “your turn, my turn” type offense. If the series is just going to turn into who can score more efficiently out of an isolation, Brooklyn takes the series.
But I’m a believer in that things become more difficult in the playoffs, and the Nets weren’t even posed a challenge against that below-average Boston Celtics team. Milwaukee’s team defense is extraordinary and I’m eager to see, if things start going wrong for Brooklyn, whether the defensive intensity stays up for Harden and Irving.
At this point, with so few reps together, Milwaukee is the epitome of team basketball, while Brooklyn represents the new generation of AAU, isolation-dependent basketball. At the end of the day, I think Milwaukee has a great chance to take advantage of Brooklyn’s lack of reps and start the finger-pointing among themselves.
I’m on Milwaukee +160 for the series.
That being said, I’m on Milwaukee +4 in the opener. Neither team was really challenged in their respective first series, but I think the defense for Milwaukee travels to Brooklyn and gives them fits late in the game.