The Milwaukee Bucks (25-15,12-8 away) travel to take on the Brooklyn Nets (24-12, 10-9 home) in an Eastern Conference clash between two NBA powers. Milwaukee aims to end a rare two-game losing skid while the Nets snapped a three-game skid on Wednesday with a victory over the Pacers. Milwaukee won the first meeting between these two teams in the season-opener, 127-104.
Friday night’s contest tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Brooklyn is a 4.5-point favorite, and the over-under total is at 229.5 points.
What to Know – Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee will try and get back in the win column after back-to-back losses to Detroit and Toronto. The Bucks sit 2.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks are fourth in the league averaging 112.1 points per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from three. Milwaukee’s defense holds opponents to 108.0 points per game, 44.1 percent from the field, and 34.1 percent from the arc.
In the 117-111 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, Milwaukee blew a nine-point first-half lead after being outscored 24-11 in the third quarter. Khris Middleton paced the Bucks in scoring with 25 points, and Jordan Nwora chipped in 17. Giannis Antetokounmpo remained sidelined with an illness and is probable for Friday’s bout with the Nets.
Milwaukee is 18-22 against the spread this year and 11-9 ATS on the road. The Bucks are 4-1 ATS over their previous five games against the Nets.
What to Know – Brooklyn Nets
The Nets sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games back of the Chicago Bulls. Brooklyn looks to snap a four-game losing streak at home, their last home win coming on Dec. 16th.
Brooklyn scores 110.8 points per game thanks to 46.9 percent shooting from the field and 35.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Nets surrender 107.9 points per game, 43.2 percent shooting from the floor, and a league-best 31.6 percent shooting from the 3-point line.
Kyrie Irving made his season debut, and Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 39 points in the Nets victory over the Pacers. Irving was second on the team with 22 points. The Nets shot 23.8 percent from the arc but forced 14 turnovers and outrebounded the Pacers, 39-34.
Brooklyn is 14-21-1 ATS this season and 4-14-1 at home. The Nets are 1-4 ATS over their previous five contests but 4-1 ATS against the Bucks at home.
The Pick is In
Friday night’s matchup will hinge on the status of Antetokounmpo, but we will assume the star is still sidelined. With no Giannis in the lineup, Durant should have another solid outing against the Bucks’ defense. Irving won’t be in the lineup for Friday night’s showdown, regulated to road appearances only because the star hasn’t gotten his vaccine shots.
Even without Irving, the duo of Durant and Harden will be too much for the Bucks to overcome without their star player.
Betting Pick: Brooklyn Nets -4.5