I'm not going to bet on this because the Nets have already cost me too much money as it is, but I wouldn't object if you decided to bet on the Bucks to come back and beat them in the second round at plus-money. If you think the emotional toll of losing a game like Game 5 will be too much to overcome, I don't blame you. Losses like that stick.
But the things that went right for Brooklyn on Tuesday night don't seem all that sustainable. Is Jeff Green going to make seven 3s again? Probably not. He's only done that one other time in his career. Are the Bucks going to commit 24 fouls again? Probably not. They averaged only 17.3 during the regular season, second-fewest in the NBA. Is Kevin Durant going to go supernova again? The odds of him matching his Game 5 performance are fairly slim considering nobody in NBA history had ever posted a playoff line of 49-17-10 before Tuesday.
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The Bucks are shell-shocked right now. That might cost them this series. But the Nets played Durant all 48 minutes on Tuesday. He's going to be exhausted. James Harden could barely move and he played 46 minutes, not ideal for his recovery. Brooklyn's role players, aside from Green and Blake Griffin, couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. If the Bucks can pull themselves together, they can still win this thing.
As for Wednesday's games? Injuries are the story. We don't know how healthy Joel Embiid is after shooting 0 for 12 in the second half of Game 4. We don't know how the health status of Kawhi Leonard, other than that he's out for Game 5 and probably beyond with a suspected ACL injury. I'd advise caution on those fronts in general. If you wanted to sit today out and use it to evaluate who's left, nobody would blame you, but for the sake of this column, we soldier on. And now, today's top picks.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Embiid shooting 0 for 12 from the field in the second half on Monday was unsustainable. No injury should ever render him that ineffective. But if he's hobbled, Philadelphia's offense becomes overly reliant on Tobias Harris and Seth Curry making 3s just to function. Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle cramp the floor, and if Embiid isn't making up for that with his individual excellence, points are going to be hard to come by here. Philadelphia's defense is dominant that it could still win the game, but for now, a low-scoring game should be the expectation. The pick: Under 224
Leonard's injury is such a shame. Aside from the obvious factor of losing a star, the Clippers had finally seemed to figure themselves out. Despite this series being tied 2-2, they had outscored the Jazz by 31 points in total over the course of the series. Utah might've been able to regain control if Mike Conley had returned at full strength, but the Clippers were finally starting to look like the team everyone expected them to be for the past two seasons. But now that Leonard is out, they just don't have the playmaking or scoring offensively to keep up with a team as good as the Jazz. Utah is almost certainly headed to the Western Conference finals. The pick: Jazz -7