Two of the top teams in the NBA Eastern Conference will go head-to-head head when the Brooklyn Nets hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. The Milwaukee Bucks, who were without Giannis Antetokounmpo, slumped to a loss against the Chicago Bulls and have won only two of their last four games.
The Brooklyn Nets, meanwhile, were beaten by the Portland Trail Blazers. Both Kevin Durant and James Harden missed the game for the Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets have other players missing as well. But they will not fret too much, as they are guaranteed of a high playoff seed and have seen impressive performances from several role players in recent games.
Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
The Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks have been two of the strongest teams in the league this season.
Kevin Durant, who missed the last game, is expected to return for this one, which should provide a huge boost to the Brooklyn Nets, as Kyrie Irving was left with too much to do in his last outing.
Blake Griffin should be fit to start again, while Bruce Brown, Nicolas Claxton and James Harden are all still some way from a return. The Brooklyn Nets saw their 5-game winning streak snapped in their last match and will look at Durant and Irving to help them return to winning ways.
The Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, are expected to be at full strength, although both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Donte DiVincenzo are doubtful starters.
Khris Middleton has produced at both ends of the court this season, while Jrue Holiday has also been very impressive. In what promises to be a mouth-watering contest, the Milwaukee Bucks are the marginal favorites, considering the spate of injuries the Brooklyn Nets are grappling with at the moment.
On that note, let's have a look at a hypothetical combined starting five of the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks Combined Starting 5
Point Guard - Jrue Holiday | Shooting Guard - Kyrie Irving | Small Forward - Khris Middleton | Power Forward - Kevin Durant | Center - Giannis Antetokounmpo
In what forms a mouth-watering combined 5 lineup, Jrue Holiday and Kyrie Irving would form the guard pairing. Irving has been the Brooklyn Nets’ most prolific scorer this season. More impressively, he has played more games than Durant, so he walks in at the shooting guard position in this hypothetical combined lineup.
Jrue Holiday’s defensive impact cannot be completely captured in numbers. Nevertheless, he is averaging 17.3 points and 5.8 assists per game in a highly impressive season.
The Milwaukee Bucks look like a better unit with Holiday in their lineup. His overall shooting efficiency of 57% makes for a highly impressive stat line. He takes up the point-guard position in this hypothetical combined lineup.
The frontcourt of this combined lineup has All-Star calibre players too. Khris Middleton has emerged as the second-most prolific scorer for the Milwaukee Bucks’ lineup this campaign. The 29-year old is shooting at over 42% from the 3-point zone and forms a major crux of a strong Milwaukee Bucks defense that will have its sights set on the championship this time around.
The power forward position is a shoo-in for Kevin Durant, who has been highly unlucky with injuries but has been at his dominant best whenever he has played.
Durant is averaging more than 27 points per game and walks into this combined lineup. Finally, the center position would be taken up by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo hasn’t featured at the center since multiple seasons, though. Nevertheless, he has again produced incredible numbers, and he is a strong contender for the All-Defensive team this season.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ slow start to the season coupled with his injuries have meant that a third MVP award might be a distant possibility for Antetokounmpo, considering the contenders that have emerged in recent months.