The heavyweight battle between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets continues in Game 4, as the Bucks look to even things up after falling in a 2-0 hole to start the series. Can Milwaukee carry its momentum from a wild finish in Game 3 over to Game 4? What's to be expected from the superstars?
Below, find everything you need to know ahead of Game 4 between the Bucks and Nets.
Matchup: No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs No. 2 Brooklyn Nets
Series: Nets lead 2-1
Where to watch
Date: Sunday, June 13
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV: SN 360 (Canada) and ABC
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
What to watch
How will the stars align?
A big reason that this is considered to be a heavyweight battle is because of the sheer star power present on both sides.
As a strained hamstring will again keep James Harden sidelined, the Nets will again lean heavily on the All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. In Game 3, Durant (30) and Irving (22) combined to score 52 of Brooklyn's 83 points but the night was uncharacteristically inefficient for both of them as they combined to shoot 20-for-50 (40 percent) from the field.
For two guys that hover around the 50-40-90 club, it's hard to expect KD and Kyrie to again turn in such performances. What will they do to get back on track? Or can Milwaukee again muddle things up defensively to make life a bit more difficult?
Of course, Milwaukee has a big-time trio of its own in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.
In Game 3, Antetokounmpo (33) and Middleton (35) combined for 68 of the team's 86 points - or 79 percent of the Bucks' scoring offence, a night of historic proportions. And while Holiday scored just nine points (on 4-for-14 shooting), his late go-ahead bucket was the biggest of the night.
Can Antetokounmpo and Middleton carry such a big offensive load again? After shooting eight 3s in Game 3, will Giannis cut back? A bigger night from Holiday would certainly ease the offensive burden for the duo, thus diversifying the Bucks' offence. This leads to the next thing to keep an eye on…
Who steps up?
Outside of Milwaukee's big trio, the team got just nine points.
That won't cut it.
Brook Lopez will look to bounce back from a 1-for-7 performance, while P.J. Tucker tries to get back on track from a game in which he missed all three of his 3-point attempts. Head coach Mike Budenholzer's increased reliance on the starters led to limited numbers from Milwaukee's reserves, but good minutes from Bobby Portis or Bryn Forbes could change the outlook of the game.
For Brooklyn, Bruce Brown's late-game gaffe might (understandably) garner most of the attention, but he was the team's third-leading scorer with 16 points and 11 boards.
A look at the box score indicates that Joe Harris' 1-for-11 night (1-for-7 from deep) was one of the biggest difference-makers in Game 3. It's hard to imagine that Harris, a career 43.8 percent 3-point shooter, won't bounce back in Game 4.
Jeff Green, who has yet to play this series, will be a game-time decision in Game 4. His versatility on both ends of the floor has the potential to be a game-changer for Brooklyn.
The 3 ball
After a furious start to Game 3, things slowed down in a major way, resulting in a grind-it-out final score of 86-83.
One contributing factor? Poor 3-point shooting.
I may have singled out Harris above, but the Nets shot just 8-for-32 (25.0 percent) from 3 in Game 3. As bad as Brooklyn was, Milwaukee was worse, shooting 6-for-31 (19.4 percent) from the land beyond.
The Bucks are still searching for a breakthrough performance from deep, as they are now shooting 20-for-88 (22.7 percent) from 3-point range in the series, a stark contrast from the 36.6 percent they shot in the final three games of the opening round.
Something's got to give, right?
If Milwaukee's shooters can get going, it can come much closer to matching the firepower that Brooklyn's offence brings, especially based on the assumption that Durant and Irving get back to their normal efficiency.
Expect yet another good game between these two.
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