Nets-Bucks betting preview: Can Milwaukee stave off elimination?

Nathaniel S. Butler / NBA / Getty

After looking like their season might be over amid a rash of injuries, the Nets survived in Game 5 because of Kevin Durant's historic performance.

Can the Bucks even the series as big home favorites and force a decisive Game 7?

Nets @ Bucks (-6, 220.5)

It's hard to justify betting against Durant after witnessing what he did to close out Game 5. The Nets superstar scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to punctuate his outing that featured 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. He became the first player in NBA history to record at least 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in a playoff game.

The other key number for Durant is 48. That's how many minutes he played on Tuesday, marking just the second time the veteran has logged at least 48 minutes since tearing his Achilles in 2019. He sat the following game after his last 48-minute outing, but the 11-time All-Star won't be able to do that now. Teammate James Harden also logged 45 minutes during his first game back from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him for most of the first four matchups in the series, and he'll likely suit up again in Game 6.

Those two will be expected to carry the load with Kyrie Irving probably not playing on Thursday. Can they handle it? The Bucks were up 17 points before Durant's late-game heroics in Game 5, and they also looked like the better team in Game 4 while forcing inefficient shooting nights from the Nets' stars and dominating on the fast break.

That approach would pay even greater dividends against a gassed Brooklyn squad with limited depth and two overworked stars nursing lower-body ailments. Milwaukee's offense shot nearly 50% from the floor on Tuesday and 40% from three. If the Bucks can limit the Nets' offense as they did in Games 3 and 4, the club will be well-positioned to keep its title hopes alive.

Pick: Bucks -6

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

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Nets-Bucks betting preview: Can Milwaukee stave off elimination?
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