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Underdog Nets Try to Finish Off Bucks in Game 6

Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets are underdogs in NBA betting odds for Game 6 of their second-round playoff series vs the Milwaukee Bucks.

Injuries to James Harden and Kyrie Irving haven’t been enough to derail Kevin Durant and the Nets (55-27 SU, 46-36 ATS), who can advance to the conference final with a win in Milwaukee tonight. The Bucks (52-29, 36-45) have won their last 12 at home and opened as 3.5-point favorites.

Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks
  • Date/Time: June 17, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Fiserv Forum
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Bucks -3.5 | O/U 220.5 (Line History)
  • Nets vs Bucks Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Milwaukee is favored for the fourth time in the last five games, this time opening as 3.5-point home chalk in a must-win situation in Game 6. The point spread had been bet up to Bucks -5.5 by the time of writing, while the total had dipped slightly to 220 at most betting sites.

Brooklyn News & Notes

What will Durant do for an encore? That’s what everyone’s wondering after KD produced a performance for the ages on Tuesday, carrying the Nets to victory with Harden still hobbled by a bad hamstring and Irving sitting out the contest with a sprained ankle.

Durant did it all in Game 5: 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists for a triple-double while shooting 16-for-23 from the field, 4-for-9 from behind the arc and 13-for-16 from the free-throw line.

A toll for that performance could come tonight, however, after Durant didn’t come off the floor for a single second on Tuesday. Harden didn’t take many breaks either, for that matter, playing nearly 46 minutes in his first action since straining his hamstring in the opening minute of Game 1. If the Nets go down big tonight, don’t be surprised if coach Steve Nash limits Durant and Harden’s minutes to keep them as fresh as possible for Game 7.

Brooklyn gave everyone a head fake Tuesday by originally declaring Harden out before eventually upgrading him to doubtful and then questionable, but don’t worry about the Nets using a similar tactic with Irving. Nash told reporters that Irving won’t even travel with the team to Milwaukee, and his status for a potential Game 7 remains in doubt as well.

Milwaukee News & Notes

Midway through the third quarter on Tuesday, Milwaukee looked well on its way to taking a 3-2 series lead and exorcising some of its playoff demons. But the Bucks looked like a deer in the headlights the rest of the way, blowing a 17-point advantage and drawing the doubt of former Milwaukee great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“They’re an incredible team, but I don’t know what it is,” the Hall of Famer told ESPN on Wednesday. “They just need to figure out a better approach.”

That approach might include assigning Giannis Antetokounmpo to guard Durant, something Antetokounmpo told reporters that he would embrace. However, the Bucks could continue primarily using P.J. Tucker on Durant, a ploy that has worked very effectively in games played in Milwaukee where the refs seem to let Tucker get away with playing more physically. Durant hit just 20 of his 53 field-goal attempts in Games 3 and 4, compared to 40 of 66 in the three games played at Barclays Center.

Betting Pick: Bucks -5.5

Expect Milwaukee to learn from its mistakes on Tuesday and not let its foot off the gas, setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 showdown on Saturday night.

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Shark Bites
  • Brooklyn is 21-19 SU on the road this season.
  • Milwaukee is 12-0 SU in its last 12 home games.
  • The UNDER is 4-0-1 in this series.