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A trip to the Western Conference Finals hangs in the balance as the Milwaukee Bucks travel to the Barclays Center for Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets. As they say, this one is for all the marbles. The knocked out nets will have to get it done with Kevin Durant and a hobbled James Harden or risk watching the rest of the playoffs at home on a couch. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have all the momentum after a crushing Game 6 win in Milwaukee on Thursday night.
Giannis must remain in attack mode
Bucks are definitely the best when Giannis Antetokounmpo turns into a human freight train instead of posing as a spring shooter. Maybe he’s improving his jumper one of these days, and maybe we’ll see what we get – a physical freak of nature at his best when he runs through bodies and stumbles souls at the edge.
It’s the version of “The Greek Freak” needed to win the playoff game
But he also needs Khris Middleton to keep stepping up and hitting big shots. Even with James Harden apparently not 100 percent, the Bucks will not win with Middleton just being a passenger in this game. He’s also going to have to read some daggers if the Bucks hope to kill the dragon.
Things have obviously been simplified defensively with Kyrie Irving away, and Harden clearly compromised with an injury.
Throw as many corpses at Durant and get someone else to beat you.
The Bucks are the sixth ranked team in defensive efficiency and they must continue to play like that on the road. They must also be ready to withstand the Durant storm that may blow through as Game 5. Antetokounmpo must continue to attack the rim regardless, which will ultimately put his teammates up for a clean look at the curve in the perimeter.
If the Bucks return to jumping, they wake up Sunday morning and wonder what the hell happened. The nets are far from dead.
Can anyone help Durant?
No one cares that Kevin Durant is left on an island out there alone. The world watched in horror as Durant teamed up with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to terrorize the rest of the NBA when he was in Golden State. Now he’s on a colliding ship with Kyrie Irving and James Harden, both injured.
It’s crazy how fast things can change.
After the first two games in the series, the Bucks looked like they did not even belong on the same floor with the Nets. Then the damage bug hit, and now the entire series’ momentum has shifted in the other direction.
Durant will need one of the mysterious performances he had in Game 5 again Saturday night.
The Harden deserves great honor for even being out there and competing when he is clearly not 100 percent. He is not in attack mode right now because he is worried about the additional damage he could potentially cause to the hoarding.
But if not Harden, who’s next in line to step up?
Can anyone remember Joe Harris? There was a point in the season where some even referred to the Nets as the big four because he shoots the ball so well over the arc. He has been missing in a milk carton throughout this series. His long-range shooting percentage has been kept at 25 percent or less in three of his last four games. When Irving is out and Harden plays the wounded, it’s as good as for the fourth man to make his presence felt.
Durant is the best player on the floor. Antetokounmpo even recorded as such after Game 5. But he can not win this series alone. Other guys have to strike down shots.
It’s as simple as that.
The best supporting trends for this game can be found at Covers.com, is:
- Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games against a team with a winning home field.
- Bucks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games playing with 1 day of rest.
- The Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record up.
- Bucks are 31-15-1 ATS in the last 47 head-to-head meetings.