Part two of their two-game mini-series, the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks clash for one last time at the Fiserv Forum. The two Eastern Conference powerhouses battled on Sunday in an epic showdown that went down to the wire. Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo went back and forth in what is being called one of the best superstar duels this season.
The Milwaukee Bucks held on to win the game 117-114, courtesy of a spectacular defensive effort by Antetokounmpo in the final few minutes. The game was close throughout, and no team held any significant lead during the game. The two coaches treated this matchup like a playoff encounter, nitpicking every detail and analyzing every possession to see how their teams would fare if they were to meet in the postseason.
Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
Jrue Holiday's defense was a significant factor in the Milwaukee Bucks' win. He held Kyrie Irving to just 8-21 from the field, including 2-8 from three-point range. Holiday switched onto Kevin Durant on occasion and managed to bother him as much as he could. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nets' Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were the primary defenders assigned to contain Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the MVP thrived nonetheless. The Greek Freak dropped 49 points, including a few key buckets in the 2nd half.
Antetokounmpo outdueled Kevin Durant, who had 42 on the night. Although it would seem the Milwaukee Bucks have another shot at winning against the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash and his men might come out extra motivated to redeem themselves on Tuesday. Kevin Durant's offensive efforts ended in vain as their lack of defensive awareness was exposed by Milwaukee's offense. Kyrie Irving's poor shooting night could also result in him coming out guns blazing, as he often does after a bad game.
The two teams are expected to battle in another showdown that will surely keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks Combined 5
Point Guard - Jrue Holiday l Shooting Guard - Kyrie Irving l Small Forward - Khris Middleton l Power Forward - Kevin Durant l Center - Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets have formed one of the best on-court partnerships in the league. Although the two stars haven't played many games together, their chemistry shows otherwise. Durant dropped 42 points on 16-33 shooting from the floor, including 7-13 from three-point territory. He is one of the most efficient players the league has ever seen. He came back from a career-threatening injury with practically no rust to speak of. Durant has also missed the better part of this season, but his presence on the floor has remained incredible. Kevin Durant is completely immersed in the offense and his game is as sharp as ever.
Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving has done a tremendous job of holding down the fort for the Brooklyn Nets while Durant and James Harden recover from their respective hamstring injuries. He is averaging 26.8 points, 6.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.6 blocks per game for the Brooklyn Nets, close to his career-high in every category.
Milwaukee Bucks' point guard Jrue Holiday has given the team a new look. His prowess on the defensive end of the floor is unmatched and he can lock up some of the greatest guards with ease. Point guards like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard have called Holiday an underrated defensive matchup. He is also impactful on the offensive end, averaging 17.3 points and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 50% from the floor, including 38.7% from beyond the arc.
The reigning MVP and DPOY appears to be more confident than ever. Antetokounmpo's incredible efficiency boosted the importance of his 49 points. He went 21-36 from the field and dropped four threes on 50% shooting from downtown. Antetokounmpo didn't rely on his usual rim attacks to get points and was incredibly comfortable taking jump shots. Opposing defenses usually crowd the paint when Antetokounmpo makes a move, but he exploited this defensive scheme by hitting turnaround jump shots and fadeaways. His incredible defense on Kevin Durant in the game's final stretch was also a significant factor in his team's victory.
Finally, Khris Middleton forms the third piece in the Milwaukee Bucks' 'Big 3' with Antetokounmpo and Holiday. He is the most unassuming of stars, but his production on the floor is incredibly impactful. Giannis's free-throw woes often lead to Middleton taking charge in late-game situations, and he usually delivers. Khris Middleton is the second-highest scorer on the team. His defense has always been top-notch as well, making him an elite two-way force. He is averaging 20.3 points, 5.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game. His availability has been key this season as well, starting in all but three games for the Milwaukee Bucks.