The Milwaukee Bucks try to even their best-of-seven second round series with the Brooklyn Nets in Game 6 on Thursday. Kevin Durant’s masterpiece of 49 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks and three steals on 16 of 23 from the field in 48 minutes fueled a Game 5 comeback on Tuesday to give the Nets a 114-108 win and a 3-2 series lead. Down by as many as 18 points in the second half, with Kyrie Irving (plus-4.1 Offensive Box Plus/Minus in the playoffs) out and James Harden (plus-8.9 Offensive Box Plus/Minus in the playoffs) hobbled, KD led the Nets all the way back. Jeff Green helped Durant carry the Nets with his 27 points on 7 of 8 from beyond the arc in 35 minutes off the bench.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for the Bucks but it wasn’t enough, as their offense sputtered down the stretch, scoring just 21 points in the fourth quarter. Now, the Bucks will face a must-win Game 6 at home to keep their season alive.
Milwaukee didn’t double Durant quickly enough and they also didn’t give Giannis a chance to guard him late. They paid for it. The Bucks also left the wrong shooters alone and their offense became an endless array of isolations. That said, the Bucks can still win this series, Kyrie Irving remains out, James Harden isn’t himself, Kevin Durant played 48 minutes on Tuesday and Game 6 will be at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. It starts at 8:30 PM ET.
Team to Win (Regular Time)
• Brooklyn Nets: 2.95
• Milwaukee Bucks: 1.44
• Brooklyn Nets: +5.5 (1.94)
• Milwaukee Bucks: -5.5 (1.88)
• Over 219.5 (1.88)
• Under 219.5 (1.93)
Key Points to Consider
I recently said that Jrue Holiday was a good addition to the Bucks because he can go get a basket when needed but I also mentioned that Khris Middleton has to be the closer. Both disappeared at the end of Game 5 and even in their two wins the Bucks didn’t impress me! And with Kevin Durant, it’s more so about how he got the 49, 17 and 10 than the actual stat line. The eye test was ridiculous, he delivered a masterpiece on pure skill. Giannis definitely has to guard him on Thursday. The question is, can KD replicate his monster performance from Game 5 with not much time to rest? Also, will Jeff Green regress on Thursday? Can James Harden be more like himself?
The Bucks are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games against a team with a winning road record and the Nets 0-4 ATS in their last four games as an underdog.
For the Nets, Kevin Durant is projected to finish with 29.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists, making 10.4 field goals in 20.2 attempts.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to score 26.8 points with 10.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists, making 9.8 field goals in 18.5 attempts.
Three-star (out of four) AccuScore hot trend pick on the total in this one. Average score in simulations is Milwaukee Bucks 116 to Brooklyn Nets 110.
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