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Showcase Sunday: Nets begin two-game set vs Bucks

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Memphis Grizzlies v Milwaukee Bucks

Not tonight. The Brooklyn Nets came home to face the Portland Trailblazers on Friday and put up a pretty good fight. However, it wasn't enough as Portland came away with the win at Barclays. The L snapped their four game winning streak.

The opponent today will be the Milwaukee Bucks. It's hard to call a three seed, division winner, and title contender a disappointment, but that's definitely been the narrative surrounding them this season. Nevertheless, they beat the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Where to follow the game

ABC and YES2 on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM and ESPN on radio. Basketball and brunch so we’re getting started after 3:30 PM.

NetsDaily Clubhouse post-game.

Injuries

Spencer Dinwiddie is out. James Harden is out but with the team. Nicolas Claxton is back from COVID protocols, but it’s unlikely he’ll play for at least a week. Bruce Brown is expected back for this one. Oh yeah, Kevin Durant, too.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had to leave Wednesday’s game against the Rockets with an ankle injury and missed Friday's game. He's listed as probable for this one.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game in January.

Three games in four days. Three games in three different cities. The Nets and Bucks have been bouncing around from place to place the past few days so having a few days in one place will do their bodies some good.

As we come down the stretch of this season, the Nets will do their best to hold the Bucks and 76ers at bay. The team says they're not that pressed to get the one seed, but it would (presumably) make for an easier playoff path and be a great reward to the players for weathering this season.

The guard matchup today will be a marquee one. Jrue Holiday has been incredibly reliable when he's played this year and is a major upgrade over Eric Bledsoe. He can initiate the offense and score a little bit, but his defense is going to be his calling card come the playoffs. He'll get to match up with Kyrie Irving this afternoon. Irving took Thursday off to rest and came back with a quality outing on Friday against the Blazers. Irving can score at all three levels and is a matchup nightmare for anyone who guards him. Irving didn't play the first time around, so he'll present another new wrinkle in Brooklyn's attack for Milwaukee to counter.

Get your running shoes out. The Bucks are third in pace this season and the Nets are eleventh. Brooklyn is of course tops in offensive efficiency so if the game speeds up, they may have a slight advantage. Milwaukee has been experimenting a bit more with their defense this season and a challenge like today will help them figure out what they'd like to do come playoff time.

Player to watch: Khris Middleton

Can Middleton be that second scoring option to push the Bucks to the Finals? To his credit, he stepped up when Giannis got hurt in the bubble last fall and is shooting a career best 42.6 percent from three point range this season. He can score from deep, is a decent finisher at the basket, is becoming more of a playmaker, and can get you a bucket when need be.

Kevin Durant will be back for this contest. He wanted to play on Friday on the second leg of a back to back, but the Nets are conservative with players coming back from injury so he sat it out. He played 36 minutes against the Pacers and is a sure bet to be around that number today. With the playoffs starting to come into view, getting KD those reps against elite competition will help keep him sharp when the title chase officially begins.

From the Vault

If the Nets and Bucks wind up facing each other in the playoffs, it’ll be their first matchup since 2003.

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