The Bucks finally (kind of) showed up for Game 3, getting the series to 2-1, with a chance to even things up before heading back to Brooklyn. But as the case has been all season, I see one final opportunity to get into the futures market and back the Nets.
I’m writing this on Friday afternoon, and think we can probably wait to pull the trigger here, but one way or another this will be a bet for Sunday. I’d expect James Harden (hamstring) to officially be ruled out again, which could get us a better price on the Nets. The Bucks came out with their season on the line in Game 3 and played desperate, as expected.
They jumped out to a 30-9 lead, as you know. But Milwaukee got all 30 of those points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. The role players continued to be dreadful for the Bucks, and while Giannis will hold his own getting to the rim, you can’t count on those two to get you your first 30 points again.
After the 30-9 run to start the game, the Nets won the remainder of the contest, 74-56. It was similar domination, particularly on defense, to what we saw in the first two games of the series. The difference was on offense for Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant, although better in the second half, shot just 11-of-28. Kyrie Irving was 9-for-22, including 2-of-8 from deep. Joe Harris, an absolute marksman, shot 1-for-11 — missing some potential game-altering shots. Bruce Brown, although spectacular in the second quarter, took the two biggest shots of the game. The Brooklyn bench shot 3-for-11.
The point is, the Nets can’t play any worse on offense, and still had a shot in the air to go to overtime. Giannis is in a bad place right now at the free-throw line, shooting 4-for-9 and getting called for another 10-second violation. The Nets shouldn’t be shy to use some fouls on him when he gets to the rim. Giannis also can’t seem to help himself when the Nets bait him into launching 3-pointers. He went 1-for-8 from downtown in Game 3, which helps the Nets tremendously.
Just too much can shift Brooklyn’s way heading into this next game. They get up 3-1, and this will be a multi-unit play come Sunday.
With the Nets losing a game, we see them at an enticing price to win the title. I think this could be the last time we see plus-money here, and I’m taking it. I have a lot of confidence they will take Game 4, and either way, feel they are in control of this series. They’ll be heavy favorites in each series along the way, and as long as KD is healthy, this team should get it done.
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