After we got a classic in Game 5 in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, the series shifts to Milwaukee, in a win-or-go-home Game 6 for the Bucks. The home team is a sizable 5.5-point favorite in this one, but is the shift in the spread just too many points?
This really feels like a spot where Bucks should capitalize, but nothing has been how it seems almost all postseason. We had five crucial Game 5 matchups in the NBA this week, and the underdog has won all of them outright. That doesn’t have much to do with this game, but it does help you realize just how overlooked the Nets are going in this one — still as heavy favorites to win the series and the conference.
The perception is the Bucks will come out strong and make adjustments off an embarrassing collapse, and that Kevin Durant and James Harden will be gassed from playing 48 and 46 minutes in Game 5, respectively. But Kevin Durant is still the best player on the floor — Giannis Antetokounmpo even says so — and James Harden can only get better, following a 1-for-10 shooting letdown in his return. The Bucks also showed us they’re still the Bucks late in Game 5, and will choke this away if they get the chance to.
Maybe a couple whistles try to help Milwaukee out and give us a Game 7 in primetime on Saturday night, but we’re still getting a ton of value here with the Nets as a 5.5-point dog. Steve Nash should play his guys big minutes, and we should see even more Jeff Green, who could now be the primary defender on Giannis. While I’ll be pulling for them, maybe the Nets don’t win the game, but I think they keep this inside the inflated number.
Harden clearly wasn’t himself on Tuesday, but he did play 46 minutes without any hiccups. He grabbed six rebounds and dished out eight assists, playing well within the offense. I’m not really worried about him continuing to do those two things, and maybe even be better. The shooting was the concern, but I think we see improvements. Harden should be more confident after playing a full-game and he’ll make adjustments to be able to score. Bottom line is that this prop is about 66% of what it usually is (44.5 or 45.5). I need to take that value, especially if playing 45 minutes is in the cards.
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