NBA Playoffs, Game 3 preview: Nets vs Bucks

The second-round NBA playoff series between the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks was supposed to be the best series of the entire playoffs…

This, unfortunately for us NBA fans, wouldn’t be the case after the first two games. 

The Brooklyn Nets, led by their two stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been putting on a show. 

Yes, I said the Nets two stars, because their third-star player, James Harden, left game one after only 43 seconds of action. 

Many basketball analysts said Harden was the most important player on the Nets and by not having him in the lineup would be a huge advantage for the Bucks. 

Previous Games

Without Harden, the Nets haven’t missed a beat. Their two wins wouldn’t even be that particularly close, either.

Game one:

  • Bucks 107
  • Nets 115

Game two: 

  • Bucks 86
  • Nets 125

Game one wasn’t as close as the final score may suggest. The Nets pulled away in the second half of game one, led by Durant, who finished with 29. 

Game two started as a runway for the Nets and the Bucks never got close. At one point, the Nets led the Bucks by 49 points. Durant scored 32 in only three-quarters of work. 

Alongside Kevin Durant is Kyrie Irving. Sometimes Irving can be a distraction to his team with certain things he says, justifiable or not.

But when Irving is locked in to play, and especially come playoff time, Irving turns into a straight killer. 

In game one, Irving scored 25 and dished out 8 assists. Game two, he added 22 points in the blowout. 

Yes, the two stars have been putting in work, but the Nets role players have stepped up big. 

The almost forgotten former star, Blake Griffin, has come alive ever since he landed in Brooklyn. This is especially true in the playoffs. 

Griffin, who didn’t dunk for two years in Detroit, came to Brooklyn and his first bucket was a dunk! 

Griffin chipped in 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He followed that performance up in game two with 7 points and 8 rebounds in about 26 minutes.

Griffin’s stats weren’t as good, but he was very effective at helping the Nets build that huge lead. 

Another role player who has stepped up big is point guard Mike James. With James Harden out, the Nets needed someone to help Irving out at the point, and boy has James delivered.

In game one, James scored 12 while grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing out 3 dimes. His play transcended what his stats were. When James came in, the Nets went on their run. 

In game two, James scored 10 in only 23 minutes. In those 23 minutes, James led the entire game in +/- with a +30. 

The Milwaukee Bucks have underperformed in the first two games. This is an all too familiar feeling with the Bucks in the playoffs. 

The two-time MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, had a big game one, he scored 34 while grabbing 11 boards. 

In game two, the Greek Freak didn’t play much, since it was such a one-sided game. He scored 18 and grabbed 11 boards.

The problem with the Bucks against the Nets isn’t Giannis Antetokounmpo, it’s the “other” players, and specifically Khris Middleton.

Middleton is usually solid out on the floor. In the first two games of these playoffs against the Nets that hasn’t been the case. 

Middleton has scored 13 and 17 in the first two games. The problem is his shooting. Middleton can’t seem to hit the side of a barn so far in this series. 

In game one, Middleton shot 6-23 from the field. He followed that horrible shooting game up with a 7-20 shooting game in game two. 

Has it been the Nets defense, which ranked as one of the worse in the regular season, holding Middleton down on offense?

Or is it the pressure of the moment that’s making Middleton hesitate on offense?

If the Bucks want to get back into this series and have a chance to win, they need Middleton and their other role players to step up.

Game three will be played tonight at 7:30 Eastern Standard Time and the Bucks will be home. 

Role players usually play better at home and with James Harden already ruled out, the Bucks need to win. So the question is, will they?

Find out by watching the game tonight! 

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