LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 21: Brooklyn Nets Guard Kyrie Irving (11) make a pass during a NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers on February 21, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. The game was played without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Brooklyn Nets are 1.5-point home favorites over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Barclays Center
- Nets star guard James Harden will not play after injuring a hamstring in Game 1
- A look at Game 2 of the Bucks-Nets series along with a prediction can be found below
The Brooklyn Nets will try to take control of the series when they host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Barclays Center.
The Nets won 115-107 in Game 1 on Saturday as 1.5-point favorites. The line is the same for Game 2.
Brooklyn has won 10 of its last 11 games, the only loss coming in Game 3 of the first round when the Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum scored 50 points. Until losing Saturday, the Bucks had won seven of their last eight games and 12 of 14.
Bucks vs Nets Game 2 Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Spread at FanDuel||Total|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-102||+1.5 (-110)||Over 234 (-114)|
|Brooklyn Nets||-116||-1.5 (-110)||Under 234 (-108)|
Odds as of June 6th
Nets star James Harden has been ruled out of Game 2 after leaving the series opener just 43 seconds in because of right hamstring tightness. A similar injury caused him to miss 20 of 21 games during stretch late in the regular season.
Jeff Green will miss his fifth straight game with a strained plantar fascia in his left foot. He could return later in the best-of-seven series, though. Alize Johnson (sprained ankle) played the final 1:26 of Game 1 after missing two games.
The Bucks have no shorter-term injuries.
Bucks vs Nets Projected Lineups
|Jrue Holiday||PG||Kyrie Irving|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Bruce Brown|
|P.J. Tucker||SF||Joe Harris|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||PF||Kevin Durant|
|Brook Lopez||C||Blake Griffin|
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Bucks’ Offense Goes Flat
Milwaukee’s high-powered offense was held in check in Game 1. Their 108 points were 12 under their NBA-leading average in the regular season.
Poor outside shooting hurt the Bucks as they connected on just 6 of 30 (20.0%) from beyond the arc after averaging a franchise-record 14.4 made three-pointers during the regular season. Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton combined for 2 of 12 from long range.
Khris Middleton for threeeeeee pic.twitter.com/jjuRNWvqZa
— PlayoffWe (@ClippersWe) June 6, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 34 points and 11 rebounds. He has had a double-double in all five playoff games.
Brook Lopez added 19 points and combined with Antetokounmpo to make 24 of 35 shots from the field. That helped the Bucks hold a 72-48 advantage in points in the paint and outscore the Nets 20-4 in second-chance points.
Unbelievable play by Brook Lopez. pic.twitter.com/SLpBP804bt
— IKE Bucks Podcast (@IKE_Bucks) June 6, 2021
Holiday finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists but shot just 7 of 19. Middleton was even worse at 6 for 23 – including 0 for 5 on threes – while winding up with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Reserve Bryn Forbes hit just 1 of 5 shots from beyond the arc after making 16 of 33 (48.5%) in the four-game sweep of the Miami Heat in the first round.
Big Three Becomes Big Two
The Nets were able to survive Harden’s early exit in Game 1 when the other two members of the Big Three – Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – combined for 54 points.
Durant scored 29 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. That was his second double-double of this postseason.
Every Kevin Durant mid range jumper from tonight’s game. pic.twitter.com/vD11U2gJ5E
— YD (@MondgreenG) June 6, 2021
Taking over the bulk of the ballhandling duties with Harden sidelined, Irving finished with 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds and the Nets had just eight turnovers. Irving averaged 6.0 assists during the regular season to finish second on the team to Harden’s 10.9.
Blake Griffin had 18 points and 14 rebounds despite being at a size disadvantage against Antetokounmpo and Lopez. It was just Griffin’s second double-double in 32 games, including the playoffs, since signing with the Nets.
Have a GAME @blakegriffin23 👏 pic.twitter.com/apVTCqxKW8
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 6, 2021
Despite Griffin’s strong effort, the Nets were outrebounded 58-47. Joe Harris had 19 points, including five three-pointers.
Mike James scored 12 points in 30:15 off the bench after playing just 9:24 in the Nets’ five-game series win over the Celtics in the first round.
Can Nets Win Without the Beard?
The Bucks won two of three in the regular season from the Nets, both at home with Brooklyn missing Harden
The Nets were able to win without Harden in Game 1. However, it is going to be difficult to beat the Bucks in a seven-game series without one of the league’s best players.
- The Pick: Bucks +1.5 (-110)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.