Every round of the NBA Playoffs gets tougher, both for the players and bettors. But our crew has no issue keeping up with the postseason pressure.
You can find their game analysis and pick below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Bucks vs. Nets Spread||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Bucks vs. Nets Moneyline||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Nuggets vs. Suns Game/Series Prop||10 p.m. ET|
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: Let’s think about this one for a second.
Do we think the Bucks’ offense, which ranked fifth this season with 116.5 points per 100 possessions, is going to continue shooting like this? Milwaukee torched a very capable Heat defense for just about their season average in its dominant opening-round win, and started out this series with perhaps the worst performance of the season, just a 20% shooting night.
The Nets got worked on the glass in Game 1, grabbing just over 45% of available rebounds, which is the same story as the first round, when Boston dominated in that area. It was a terrible rebounding season for Brooklyn, and that trend should continue here in Game 2.
Without rebounding, and without a real way through this Bucks defense, which allowed just around 109 points per 100 possessions to the league’s most lethal offense, it’s going to take a lot for the Nets to get across the finish line in Game 2.
The bad shooting simply can’t continue to be this bad for Milwaukee against a Nets defense that could barely hold the lowly Celtics in check on that end.
And, without James Harden here, it will continue to be a chore trying to score on Milwaukee. There’s the potential for a huge, huge swing in the series here, and I may even look into an alternate spread on the Bucks. They should roll.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
|Pick||Bucks ML (-105)|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: The sky is falling in Milwaukee. How could it not? Brooklyn’s primary playmaker in James Harden left the game with hamstring tightness on the first play of Game 1 and they still lost.
If you can’t win a game under those circumstances you’re in trouble right? I’m not buying it.
For starters, I’ve never been a fan of seeing an opposing team’s star player get injured. Even if it seems favorable on her surface it completely changes the dynamic of the game. With Harden being the Nets’ primary playmaker, this changes the way the Bucks scouted and game planned and subsequently threw off the entire rhythm of the game.
The Nets still have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two of the best isolation scorers in the league, so asking them to do more on the fly isn’t a bad thing.
More importantly, the Bucks were a victim of poor shooting variance, shooting just 6-of-30 (20%) from behind the arc. The good ol’ rest vs. rust debate reared it’s ugly head here and with the Bucks having six days off after sweeping the Heat, it’s clear this team didn’t have the same rhythm they had last week.
When you consider that Brooklyn finished 15-of-40 (37.5%) from behind the arc, the Nets outscored the Bucks by 27 points from behind the arc in a game in which the Nets won by seven points.
Khris Middleton was 0-of-5 from behind the arc while Blake Griffin was 4-of-9 (44.4%). The Bucks three point shooting performance was in the 4th, yes the 4th percentile of all NBA games played this season. That hardly seems sustainable.
The Bucks scored a whopping 72 points in the paint in Game 1, shooting 65.7% at the rim. They also out rebounded the Nets 58-47, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds along with 20 second chance points.
The Nets had just four second chance points so as long as the Bucks are shooting a normal shooting percentage, the Nets will have a hard time overcoming the a team who is getting more attempts at the basket.
Overall, I still think the Bucks have way too many matchup advantages and they are live to come back and win this series. It stars here in Game 2, so I bet them on the moneyline at +100 to win this game outright. BetMGM has the best odds available at -105.
Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns
|Pick||Suns Win Game 1/Series (-115)|
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: I like the Suns a lot in this series, and I expect them to take care of business at home in Game 1 and set the tone for the series.
Phoenix started the year 8-8, but has gone 47-15 since — a sparkling 62-win pace. The Suns lost two in a row just twice all season. They finished with a top-five offense and top-10 defense, and the defense looked really good against the Lakers in Round 1. The Suns went 8-0 against the Jazz, Bucks, and Sixers, and Phoenix finished 6-3 against the Lakers.
The Suns are built for this. Chris Paul is still nursing that shoulder injury but has looked healthier and got two days off before this one. Devin Booker was huge in the opener and closer against LA, and Deandre Ayton was a monster all series.
He has improved a ton on defense and has the size to at least hang with Nikola Jokic, perhaps offsetting him much like Jusuf Nurkic did when he wasn’t in foul trouble. The Suns also have the wing defense Portland didn’t, with Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Cam Johnson all providing shooting, length, and defense on the wing.
Denver did well to win a playoff series, but this team is still super shorthanded and lacking offensive weapons. We know by now that Jokic is too good to be taken out of the game entirely, but LA’s wings could take Michael Porter Jr. out of the game, and Phoenix has the defense to handle Monte Morris too.
If the Suns can limit MPJ and Morris, I’m just not sure the Nuggets have enough scoring elsewhere to keep up with a good Phoenix offense that should score at will against a mediocre Denver defense. The Suns are sure to find this series liberating after facing the Lakers defense for two weeks.
Denver got huge moments from Austin Rivers, Facu Campazzo, and Morris against Portland, but Phoenix is not Portland. The Suns actually defend, and I don’t think the Nuggets can keep up.
Will Barton is still out too, and Denver just doesn’t have a ton of options against a team near the top of the league. Portland wasn’t that, and Denver did enough to survive against a more talented team. Phoenix is even more talented, and I trust the Suns to get the win in Game 1 and get the series too.