Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Preview
This afternoon could provide a preview of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff matchup as the 8th seeded Brooklyn Nets face off against the first-place Milwaukee Bucks. With just six games remaining, the Bucks have all but locked up the top seed in the East with a 54-13 record, and have a 5.5-game cushion over the Toronto Raptors.
The Nets have been playing to lock up the 8th seed and to avoid a play-in tournament. With the Washington Wizards losing all three of their games in the bubble and 7.5 games behind, Brooklyn has likely done enough.
Both teams enter today’s game with 1-1 records in Orlando. When they last played back in January, the Bucks blew out the Nets even with a healthy Kyrie Irving 117-97. Giannis Antetokounmpo has 29 points and 12 rebounds in the game and there have been no signs of him slowing down since he’s been in Orlando.
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Arena: VISA Athletic Center, Orlando, FL
Channel: NBA TV, YES, FSWIS
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Nets: Caris LeVert (O), Joe Harris (O), Jarrett Allen (O), Jamal Crawford (DTD)
Bucks: Frank Mason III (DTD), Wesley Matthews (O)
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
In Sunday’s 118-110 win against the Orlando Magic, the Brooklyn Nets showed what they are capable of even when they are not at full strength.
It was also a display of Nets guard Caris LeVert’s improvement over the years as he dropped 34 points and seven rebounds.
“That was my favorite show to watch — watching Caris LeVert go to work, seeing how far he’s come, just being able to play 1-on-1,” Nets center Jarrett Allen said. “He was calling me, saying ‘J.A., I don’t want the screen.’ And I respected that. He didn’t want the screen and they couldn’t stop him.”
But tonight the Nets will have an even tougher opponent in the number one Milwaukee Bucks, and they’ll have to do it without LeVert, along with Allen and Harris, who were Brooklyn’s top scorers on Sunday. Allen had 22 points and a huge 15 rebounds as he controlled the boards, and Harris contributed an additional 27 points.
The Bucks were already shorthanded coming into the bubble. We all knew Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving wouldn’t be playing but Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, and several others are also out.
One bright spot has been the play of guard Chris Chiozza, who had 14 off the bench. The Nets will look to him, Tyler Johnson and Garret Temple for scoring today.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Milwaukee is 1-1 in the NBA restart, with their loss coming Sunday at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets 120-116.
The loss should do little to hurt the Bucks’ standings as they took care of business early in the season, but it served as a reminder according to Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Obviously, it’s really nice, amazing to beat teams by 10, by 20, by 30, but at the end of the day, I feel like we learned,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s good to play close games. We don’t play a lot of close games the other 65 games that we played, so we got to keep learning, we’ve got to keep executing at the end of the game.”
Giannis did his part on Sunday, finishing with a near triple-double of 36 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists. Brook Lopez also chipped in 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Khris Middleton finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bucks will be getting a shot in the arm with Eric Bledsoe returning, which will allow Donte DiVincenzo to return to his natural position at shooting guard.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Fantasy Basketball Angle
You can’t talk about the Milwaukee Bucks without selecting Giannis as a fantasy stud. He’s projected for a big night with 57.7 points on FanDuel at a salary of $11.6k, and Giannis is a fantasy bet that just about always delivers. Eric Bledsoe may be worth a gamble in his return game since his salary is just $4.7k and he’s projected for 28.3 points.
With so many players out for Brooklyn, there isn’t a true stud player in the mix. Tyler Johnson may be the best bet because when he’s given the green light, everyone knows he’s capable of putting up big numbers. At $4k for a 25.3 point projection, it’s a pretty low risk bet too.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds
Nets Odds: +1500
Bucks Odds: -3335
With the Bucks already having a laundry list of injuries and then announcing that their three best remaining players would be out against a healthy Bucks team getting Eric Bledsoe back, the odds reflect that huge disparity. The Bucks are 18.5 point favorites to win tonight’s game – one of the largest margins we’ve seen in Orlando thus far.
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