The Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets clash in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table matchup in the 2020-21 NBA at the Fiserv Forum on Sunday to kick off a two-game mini-series. The primetime showdown will be the second meeting of the two Eastern Conference powerhouses this season.
The Brooklyn Nets won their first matchup, which was an edge-of-the-seat thriller. The Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded a 34-point-12-rebound double-double. But that wasn't enough, as the Brooklyn Nets' James Harden responded with a double-double of his own, tallying 34 points and 12 assists.
However, what could have been another shooting showdown might not be possible, as both the players are unavailable for the game on Sunday.
Fixture: Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Sunday, May 2nd, 2021; 3:30 PM ET (Monday, May 3rd; 1:00 AM IST).
Venue: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI.
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks' star forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, recently suffered another injury.
Given the Bucks' relatively easy schedule ahead, the third-placed Milwaukee Bucks may not be in any hurry to rush Giannis Antetokounmpo into action. The reigning MVP and DPOY could get some much-needed rest ahead of the playoffs, as the Milwaukee Bucks eye a deep postseason run.
Several players have come to the fore in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, with all five Milwaukee Bucks starters scoring in double digits in the team's win against the Chicago Bulls.
Meanwhile, Khris Middleton has done a great job stepping up in the absence of Antetokounmpo. Although the team has lost a few games, they look ready for postseason action.
Key Player - Khris Middleton
Two-time All-Star Khris Middleton is the second-highest scorer for the Milwaukee Bucks this season.
He recently surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for eighth in the Milwaukee Bucks' all-time assist record. Middleton is averaging 20.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game on 54% effective FG%. He is also averaging a career-high 42% from the three-point range, doing so on more than five attempts per game.
Milwaukee Bucks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Jrue Holiday | Shooting Guard - Bryn Forbes | Small Forward - Khris Middleton | Power Forward - Bobby Portis | Center - Brook Lopez.
Brooklyn Nets Preview
The Brooklyn Nets have overtaken the Philadelphia 76ers for the first spot in the Eastern Conference. However, the Nets' four-game winning streak came to an end against the Portland Trail Blazers in their last outing. Kyrie Irving's efforts went in vain, as the Blazers' Damian Lillard put on a show.
James Harden has been absent since April 5th, and there is no timetable for his return, as the Brooklyn Nets are moving cautiously with their star's injury. Kevin Durant has been in and out of their lineup as he keeps grappling with injury, and his absence has hurt the team down the stretch.
Nevertheless, the Brooklyn Nets are ranked first in the league in offensive rating but are 26th in defensive rating. Many analysts have speculated that their lack of defense could hurt them in the postseason, as title-contending teams usually have top-10 defenses.
Another point of concern is that their three stars have played only seven games together, and the Brooklyn Nets have had 31 different starting lineups this season and 18 different starters.
Key Player - Kyrie Irving
The absence of James Harden and Kevin Durant has put more pressure on Kyrie Irving. He has been unable to carry the team to victory without his star teammates, despite his show-stopping performances.
Irving is averaging nearly 27 points and 6.3 assists per game on 50% shooting from the floor.
Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kyrie Irving | Shooting Guard - Landry Shamet | Small Forward - Joe Harris | Power Forward - Blake Griffin | Center - Jeff Green.
Nets vs Bucks Match Prediction
This game could go either way, as both teams are missing their stars. The Milwaukee Bucks' defense is incredible, while the Nets' is subpar.
If Kevin Durant laces up for the Brooklyn Nets, they will have a key advantage over the Milwaukee Bucks. This matchup could be a precursor to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Where to watch Nets vs Bucks game?
The Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks game will be locally televised on the YES2 Network and nationally broadcast on ABC. The match can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.