After defeating the Boston Celtics in Game 5 123-109, the Brooklyn Nets advanced to the second round where they will face off against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
With LeBron James and and the now former defending champion Los Angeles Lakers out of the playoff picture, this series is expected to be the jewel of the playoffs. It has already caught the attention of one Hall of Famer.
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KG Thinks This Year’s Champ Will Come Out of the East
As a former NBA champion and league’s Most Valuable Player, Kevin Garnett has been in some fierce playoff battles. Garnett is particularly excited for the Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup between the Nets and Bucks, because in his mind one of the two teams could potentially be this year’s champ.
“This year’s champion coming out of the east now? Got four of the league’s top players in this upcoming series in the east between the Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets!” Garnett wrote on Instagram per Landon Buford. “Definitely coming out of the east this year. What ya think, champ coming out of the east?”
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Harden Is Already Preparing for the Bucks
This season has been very faced paced, leaving little time for players to rest or plan strategies for their opponents, and this years playoff series have been no different. But star point guard James Harden has made it clear that just as quickly as his last series ended, he is already preparing for the next matchup.
“Personally myself, I’m thinking about them right now”, said Harden in a postgame interview via SNY when asked about how soon his team would plan for their upcoming bout with the Bucks. “Just the matchups, and things that they do on both ends of the ball. Obviously, we know how good they are on both sides and their individual talents. So, tomorrow we have an off day, and Thursday we go watch film and prepare for them.”
The two teams have played each other three times this season, each coming down to the wire and ending with narrow margins, making this a promising series for high-level competition. Of the three matchups, two were won by the Bucks. However, in all three games, only two members of Brooklyn’s big three were playing. With KD and Irving each averaging 26.9 points per game this season, along with Harden’s 24.7 points, it is no wonder Brooklyn are the favorites to come out of this matchup and into the Eastern Conference finals.
Giannis Is Not Messing Around
The Milwaukee Bucks have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and league MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, a man who seems to have been on a mission this year. So far averaging 23.5 points, as well as career highs in both rebounds and assists with 15 and 7.8, respectively in this year’s playoffs. Antetokounmpo has made it clear that in this postseason he is not messing around this time.
“There’s a saying: ‘Don’t play with your food”, he said in a postgame interview with Inside the NBA after defeating the Miami Heat in Game 4 to sweep the series.
One thing is for sure, with two of the league’s top ten scorers in the regular season (Durant and Harden did not play enough games to qualify), the most exciting big three since the Golden State Warriors, and two teams who have had high expectations for this year since the preseason, this matchup is set to be one for the ages.