Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo returns to the lineup on Sunday for a marquee matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- It’s a marquee matchup in the East on Sunday, May 2nd between the Nets and Bucks
- Kevin Durant will return to the lineup for Brooklyn after sitting out Friday’s loss to the Blazers, while Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as probable for Milwaukee
- Get the odds, preview, and pick for this contest below
A potential preview for the Eastern Conference Finals will be at hand on Sunday, when the Brooklyn Nets visit the Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is set for 3:30 pm EST. This is the first of a back-to-back between these two powerhouses. The second game will take place on Tuesday at Fiserv Forum as well.
Brooklyn is coming off a disappointing loss to Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on home court. Milwaukee, meanwhile, managed to beat the Zach LaVine-less Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo did miss out with a sprained ankle, but the reigning MVP is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday afternoon.
The last meeting between the Nets and Bucks saw James Harden and Kevin Durant lead their squad to a thrilling 125-123 win in January.
Nets vs Bucks Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline at FanDuel||Total|
|Brooklyn Nets||+3 (-110)||+128||TBD|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-3 (-110)||-152||TBD|
Odds as of May 1st
Milwaukee enters this game as slim 3-point favorites.
Great Test For Brooklyn
We’re obviously aware of what the Bucks are capable of in the playoffs, but they’ve yet to get past a Conference Final. However, as good as Brooklyn has been this season, these next two games are a good test for them ahead of a hopeful title run.
Although there’s no James Harden on the floor for the team right now, it’s good news that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are healthy for this marquee matchup. KD’s absence on Friday was clearly felt in a 19-point loss to Portland, with Irving left to essentially carry the offense alone.
The supporting cast has been impressive at times though and honestly, they weren’t awful in this one. Aside from Kyrie’s 28 points, Jeff Green and Mike James also dropped 16 and 15, respectively.
The Nets were neck and neck with the Blazers until the tail end of the third quarter, where Lillard helped spark an 18-4 run to put his squad up by a healthy amount heading into the final quarter. Dame collected 22 points in the second half alone which ultimately played a key part.
Above and Beyond // @KyrieIrving // @unclejeffgreen @BeyondMeat pic.twitter.com/mahrVRjhIM
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) May 1, 2021
As Brooklyn head on a five-game road trip, they’re just 18-13 away from the Barclays Center this season. Steve Nash’s team is also just half a game ahead of Philly for top spot in the East.
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Bucks Looking to Continue Impressive Play at Home
Milwaukee currently owns a 39-24 record which is good for third in the Conference. They have been extremely dominant on home court this season, going 20-10, while beating the 76ers in consecutive games at Fiserv Forum last week.
After four contests on the road, they finally return to Milwaukee and will have the focal point of their offense ready to pick up where he left off. The Greek Freak twisted his ankle in the opening minutes of a 143-136 loss to the Rockets on Thursday and for precautionary reasons, sat out on Friday.
Get better every day. pic.twitter.com/gtt3aZbC8S
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 1, 2021
Nevertheless, the rest of the starting rotation stepped up in a 108-98 win over Chi-Town, with all five players registering double-digit scoring nights. Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez led the team with 22 points each, while Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis also dropped 16 apiece.
Milwaukee, who is the second-best three-point shooting team in the association, had a down night from downtown though, draining just 36% of their attempts. But, they were able to get more than enough buckets from mid-range and at the hoop, outscoring the Bulls 50-42 in the paint.
Defensively, it was a brilliant performance. Holding any team to less than 100 points is considered a job well done and the Bucks did just that. They even contained Nikola Vucevic to only 17 points.
Nets Look to Make a Statement
With Durant back in the lineup here, I don’t see Brooklyn losing. He torched the Pacers for 42 in his last appearance and alongside Kyrie, the two will lead the Nets to a crucial victory.
Giannis is clearly playing through some pain right. Even the Greek Freak doesn’t sprain an ankle and then recover fully in just three days’ time. Therefore, the Bucks All-Star won’t probably be his normal self on Sunday.
It’s going to be close, but take Brooklyn on the Moneyline.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets +128
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Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.