On Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets will play host to the Milwaukee Bucks for Game 1 of their second round series in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Let’s take a closer look at the top Bucks vs. Nets Game 1 player prop picks and make some predictions for this June 5, 2021 NBA Playoffs matchup.
Bucks vs. Nets Game 1 Player Props (June 5, 2021)
The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are set to take the court for their first head-to-head matchup since May 4, a contest which represented the second victory for the Bucks in two nights over the Nets. Now all eyes shift to the Barclays Center for what many pundits before the season believed could have been the Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
The Nets finished off their first round series in fashion with a decisive 14-point victory over the Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night. In Game 5 of that series, James Harden (34), Kyrie Irving (25), and Kevin Durant (24) combined for 83 of Brooklyn’s 123 points. It was yet another dominant performance from the Nets’ dynamic trio, which is sure to be of great concern to the Bucks.
Milwaukee will play for the first time in a week, as they are the only Eastern Conference team to have finished off their first round series with via sweep. The Bucks featured a fearsome foursome of Brook Lopez, Bryn Forbes, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton who each scored at least 20 points.
Which of these talented squads will start off this series with a win?
Khris Middleton to Score 20+ Points (-182, FanDuel Sportsbook)
When it comes to the Milwaukee Bucks, the name Giannis Antetokounmpo is synonymous with the franchise. The two-time MVP will be critical to the Bucks’ chances of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, but there’s a player on his team who could be almost as vital to their hopes.
Khris Middleton has been a key playoff contributor to Milwaukee thus far. Middleton has averaged 21.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, which are the second-most behind only Antetokounmpo. Additionally, he’s dished out 4.3 assists per game, which is the third-best mark on his squad this postseason.
Middleton has had his fair share of success against the Nets this season, averaging 24.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game across three contests. In fact, Middleton has scored at least 23 points in each matchup with Brooklyn this season. In Milwaukee’s first round sweep of the Miami Heat, Middleton scored at least 20 points in three of four games, with Game 2 standing as the lone outlier. However, it’s worth noting that he only played 24 minutes in Game 2, as the Bucks rolled to a 34-point blowout win.
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Kyrie Irving to Record Over 4.5 Rebounds (-160, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Kyrie Irving was the first of the Nets’ Big Three to land in Brooklyn, but he’s shown a willingness to defer to Kevin Durant and James Harden when they have the hotter hand. In Brooklyn’s five-game series with the Boston Celtics, Irving averaged the third-most points (24.8), rebounds (6.4), and assists (2.8) per game.
One area in which Irving improved over his regular season numbers is that of his ability to secure rebounds. Brooklyn’s decisive Game 5 win was the only time in the first round series that Irving finished with fewer than five rebounds. Prior to that, he averaged 7.3 rebounds per game through the first four contests, including an 11-rebound performance in Game 4. Overall, Irving has gone over 4.5 rebounds in five of his last six games and 11 of his last 17 games overall, including once against the Bucks.
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Kevin Durant to Record Over 36.5 Combined Points and Rebounds (-115, BetMGM)
For as great as Kyrie Irving and James Harden have been for the Nets this postseason, Kevin Durant has been the brightest star on the court. In Brooklyn’s first round series, Durant averaged a gaudy 32.6 points per game to go with a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game. He did that while leading the team in blocks (2.2 per game) and averaging the second-most steals (1.4) and assists (3) per game. To top it. all off, he shot 50% from beyond the arc. When a guy places at that elite of a level with two future Hall of Fame players along side him, it cannot be overstated just how incredible his output has been.
When it comes to taking the “Over 36.5 Combined Points and Rebounds” market, keep in mind that Durant accomplished the feat twice in the first round on points alone, scoring 39 in Game 3 and 42 in Game 4. He also went over 36.5 combined points and assists in Game 1 with a 32 point, 11 rebound performance. It’s also worth noting that in three regular season meetings against the Bucks in the regular season, Durant posted combined points/rebounds totals of 39, 52, and 41. This is a rock-solid player prop.
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