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Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)
March 31st, 2022
Two of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference will face off tonight when the Brooklyn Nets host the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center.
Both clubs have won seven of their last 10 games, although they find themselves in dramatically different situations heading into this evening’s clash. At 47-28, the Bucks are one just game behind the conference-leading Miami Heat, and are fighting for homecourt advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
The Nets, meanwhile, are still scratching and clawing for a postseason berth. At 40-36, Brooklyn is eighth in the East, a mere game ahead of the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks. If the season were to end today, Steve Nash’s squad would have two shots to win a play-in game to advance. It’s a wild scenario considering the Nets entered the season co-favored to win the 2022 NBA Championship, but that was before injuries, trade demands, and Kyrie Irving’s part-time status nearly upended Brooklyn’s season.
A win tonight would give the Nets a little breathing room as well a much-needed chance to build chemistry as Nash continues to work new additions Seth Curry and Andre Drummond into his rotation.
Bucks vs. Nets is set to tip off at 7:30 pm ET, and we have the three best player prop bets below.
It’s always surprising when a player’s projected point total is significantly higher than his season average, but that’s the case with Jrue Holiday, who enters tonight’s game averaging 18.6 points. Granted, the veteran point guard has looked more aggressive on offense lately, but his best performances have come when Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo have both been sidelined with injuries. The Bucks’ dynamic duo is available this evening, meaning Holiday will revert back to being a tertiary option in the half court.
JRUE HOLIDAY CALLED GAME. pic.twitter.com/ymGc654lDG— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 3, 2022
JRUE HOLIDAY CALLED GAME. pic.twitter.com/ymGc654lDG
It's also worth considering that Holiday has gone Under 19.5 points in both of his appearances against Brooklyn this season. The former All-Star had 12 points on 5-7 shooting on Oct. 19, and 19 points on 7-9 shooting on Feb. 26. Overall, he’s averaged 17.3 points in 29 career games against the Nets.
Holiday’s defense and playmaking are both crucial to the Bucks’ success, but his scoring will take a necessary backseat tonight with his fellow stars back in action.
If Giannis wins his third NBA MVP award in 2022, it won’t be because of his 3-point shooting. The six-time All-Star is hitting just 30% of his 3-point heaves this season, which is the 362nd "best" percentage in the league. And here’s the crazy part: that’s actually a significant improvement over his 28.9% career mark from beyond the arc.
It’s never fun rooting against a genuinely likable and fundamentally decent human being like Giannis, but the Under is the right play tonight, especially considering Antetokounmpo has made one trey or fewer in 12 of his last 13 games.
Although Ben Simmons was the focus of the Nets’ splashy trade deadline deal, the player who has paid the most dividends so far has been Seth Curry. The crafty shooting guard is averaging 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 16 games with his new team, and has slotted in nicely in the designated sniper role previously occupied by Joe Harris.
Hustle from Bruce Brown leads to a Seth Curry three 🔥pic.twitter.com/ytKm5xglD3— Nets Nation (@NetsNationCP) March 27, 2022
Hustle from Bruce Brown leads to a Seth Curry three 🔥pic.twitter.com/ytKm5xglD3
Curry has been especially prolific lately. He's scored 12 points or more in four of his last six games, including a 24-point outburst against the 76ers on March 10 and a 27-point performance against the Trail Blazers on March 18. He’s also had success against Milwaukee this season, chipping in 19 points on 6-11 from the field and 4-8 from deep on Feb. 26.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will do most of the damage tonight, but Curry can be counted on to stretch the court and keep Milwaukee honest.
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Bucks vs. Nets: The best player prop bets for March 31