Bucks-Nets betting preview: Can hobbled Brooklyn pull off the upset?
The lone game on Tuesday's NBA calendar is one of the most anticipated of this postseason, as the Nets try to stave off the surging Bucks amid injuries to their star trio. Here are our best bets for the contest:
Who is even playing in this game? When Brooklyn entered this series, all three of its stars were healthy and available. Then James Harden left Game 1 with an injury that has kept him out the entire series, and Kyrie Irving sprained his ankle in Sunday's blowout loss to Milwaukee that evened the series 2-2.
Neither were expected to join Kevin Durant in the lineup Tuesday, though Harden is pushing for a Game 5 return in a crucial spot for the Nets. They'll need him to be healthy, too. Brooklyn is a mere 5-4 this season without Irving or Harden, outscoring opponents by 2.2 points per game compared to a plus-5.5 margin when at least one of them is active.
The dirty secret is that, even with Irving healthy, the Bucks look like the more complete team after holding the Nets' offense to 179 combined points in Games 3 and 4, both Milwaukee wins. Until we see how Harden looks - if he plays at all - it's hard to bet on this version of Brooklyn on either side of the ball.
This game also features the lowest total of the series after four consecutive unders to this point. Three of the previous four would have fallen below this total, too, with only Game 1 (222) narrowly edging this mark. With Irving sidelined and Harden's health still in question, the under feels like the safer play in this contest, as well.
Pick: Bucks -3, under 220.5