The playoff semi-finals are here, well… for the Eastern Conference at least. The Bucks swept the Heat, the 76ers beat the Wizards 4-1, and the Hawks and Nets both advance.
The NBA playoffs have been exciting so far, to say the least, with some villain storylines, player breakouts, and some not-so-applaudable fan behaviour.
The Eastern Conference playoff series hasn’t given us too many shocks, except for maybe the Hawks dispatching of the New York Knicks in just five games. Apart from that, we probably could have all predicted the outcomes of each of the four first-round series.
But this is where it really gets exciting. The semi-finals, the opportunity to play in a conference final on the line, and even some players’ legacies on the line.
The most exciting matchup of the two has to be the Bucks vs Nets, with Giannis Antetokounpo determined not to be eliminated in the second round of the NBA playoffs for the third year running. He has shown that so far in the Bucks’ complete dominance of the Miami Heat.
The same can be said for James Harden, who was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets at the beginning of the year to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Harden has helped the Nets claim the 2nd seed in the East.
Harden will be eager to get his first NBA championship ring as he was unable to do so in his nine year spell in Houston.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck into this playoff series and how both sides can look to get the advantage.
Bucks vs Nets: Offense vs Defense
As predicted, the Brooklyn Nets have by far the best offense in the league, which is understandable looking at the attacking presence in the Roster.
The same could also be said for the Milwaukee Bucks though, too, as they have an outstanding defensive unit with players such as reigning DPOY Giannis Antetokounpo and two-time all-defensive team honoree Jrue Holiday.
However, the Nets know about the Bucks’ defensive ability, as Durant labeled him “The best defender in the guard position” back in 2020.
Bucks vs Nets: Nullifying the Threats
One thing that the Bucks will have to do if they want to win the series is nullify the main threat on this Brooklyn team, and that is of course Kevin Durant. If they can nullify his impact on the game, then I would be feeling very confident if I were a Bucks player or fan.
The same applies to the Nets. If they can stop Giannis (unlikely) then the series is practically wrapped up for them.
However, stopping Giannis is easier said than done, as the Nets’ small-ball-esque lineup will definitely struggle to guard the MVP.
Bucks vs Nets: Joe Harris’ shooting
One thing that can definitely be taken advantage of in this series is Joe Harris’ shooting ability.
The 29-year-old is an absolute sniper from deep, having had many wide-open shots this season thanks to defenders forgetting about him and focusing on Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant.
Harris is currently averaging 14 PPG on 51% FG and 48% 3PT.
Bucks vs Nets: Khris Middleton’s Impact
The Bucks will definitely be counting on Khris Middleton this series to give them some offensive firepower. The two-time all-star averaged 24 PPG in the first-round series against the Heat and showed his clutch gene as he hit a buzzer-beater to win game 1 for his side.
Bucks vs Nets: Final Thoughts and Prediction
This series has the promise to be one for the ages and I can assure you it will not be lacking in the entertainment department.
This is the part where I shock everyone with my prediction. I believe that the Bucks are going to win this series in six games. My reason? Defense. The offense will sell tickets, but defense will win you championships, and the Bucks have defense in abundance.
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