The Brooklyn Nets are the clear-cut favorites to win the NBA Championship this season and for very good reasons. They have a historically great offense and perhaps the most talented trio in the history of the game.
It comes as no surprise to see them favored to win their second-round series vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. Then again, Steve Nash and his staff should be wary of being overconfident as they host Giannis Antetokounmpo's boys.
The Bucks were one of the most efficient teams in the league on both ends of the floor, won the regular-season series 2-1, and feature a deep, tough team with a great feel for defense. That's why we believe that they could make this series pretty interesting and even take down the Nets.
3 Reasons Why The Bucks Could Beat The Nets
3. They Can Score Too
We know that the Brooklyn Nets have the greatest offensive juggernaut in NBA history. I mean, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, AND James freaking Harden? Who's stopping that?
Not many teams can keep up the pace with the Nets but the Bucks actually can. While the Nets were 1st in offensive efficiency and offensive rating (1.153 & 118.91, respectively), the Bucks weren't that far behind (1.139 & 117.68). Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton can all score in bunches.
The Bucks actually scored the Nets by 7 total points in the season series. James Harden didn't play in those games but the formula is pretty much the same for Mike Budenholzer. The ground is laid.
2. Top-Notch Defense
The Milwaukee Bucks boast the 8th-best defense in the NBA and that's a huge edge when compared to the Brooklyn Nets. The Bucks allowed just 112.03 points per 100 possessions, while the Nets allowed 114.40 (22nd in the league).
The Bucks have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Giannis Antetokounmpo, an All-Defense presence in Jrue Holiday, and a great wing stopper in Khris Middleton. Also, PJ Tucker off the bench is a huge factor for his ability to switch and guard one through five.
There's no way you can keep Irving, Durant, and Harden in check in the same game. But the Bucks are actually one of the few teams in the league that could neutralize at least two of them while living with the other going bonkers.
1. Who's Guarding Giannis?
Giannis Antetokounmpo could be in for a legacy-defining series here. He's been knocked around in the playoffs and has a reputation for underperforming when it matters the most, and this is the perfect chance to redeem himself.
The Nets are too vulnerable in the paint to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo away from the basket. They lack the size, the personnel, and the defensive expertise to bother him when he drives, even if Nash turns to Nic Claxton or DeAndre Jordan instead of Blake Griffin.
Giannis scored 34, 36, and 49 on the Nets this season and shot above 50% on two of those contests. Collapse the paint and you have Middleton, Bryn Forbes, or even Brook Lopez ready to shoot from beyond the arc. We know it's going to be a tough, long, and fun series. But if anyone can take down the Nets, that's definitely them.