2021 Playoffs: East Semifinal | Nets (2) vs. Bucks (3)
Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Saturday, June 19, 2021
Get ready for Game 7 between the Bucks and Nets with five key stats to know about the matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Game 7: Bucks at Nets
1. Home-Court Advantage
The home team has won each game in this series as the Bucks (5-0) and Nets (6-0) are the only undefeated teams at home in the playoffs. A Nets win in Game 7 would extend their home winning streak to seven, which would be the longest playoff home winning streak in the franchise’s NBA history. Between the regular season and playoffs, the Nets are 34-8 at Barclays Center this season, with their last loss coming on April 30 against Portland. History is also on Brooklyn’s side Saturday as home teams are 109-31 in Game 7s all-time.
2. Game 7 History
This is the Nets’ fourth Game 7 in franchise history and first since May 4, 2014 against Toronto. While the home team has the historic advantage in Game 7s as noted above, the Nets have gone against that trend in their past two Game 7s: they won on the road in Toronto in 2014 and lost to Chicago at home in 2013, with both Game 7s coming in the first round. The Nets last had a Game 7 in the Conference Semifinals in 2004 when they lost at Detroit.
|5/4/14||BKN @ TOR||W, 104-103||First Round|
|5/4/13||BKN v CHI||L, 99-93||First Round|
|5/20/04||NJN @ DET||L, 90-69||East Semis|
This is the 11th Game 7 in Bucks history, with Milwaukee entering Saturday with a 2-8 record in Game 7s, including an 0-7 mark when playing Game 7 on the road. Milwaukee’s last Game 7 win came on May 20, 2001 against Charlotte; their only other Game 7 win came on May 11, 1986 against Philadelphia.
|4/28/18||MIL @ BOS||L, 112-96||First Round|
|5/2/10||MIL @ ATL||L, 95-74||First Round|
|6/3/01||MIL @ PHI||L, 108-91||East Finals|
|5/20/01||MIL vs. CHH||W, 104-95||East Semis|
|5/17/87||MIL @ BOS||L, 119-113||East Semis|
|5/11/86||MIL vs. PHI||W, 113-112||East Semis|
|4/19/81||MIL @ PHI||L, 99-98||East Semis|
|4/20/80||MIL @ SEA||L, 98-94||West Semis|
|5/3/78||MIL @ DEN||L, 116-110||West Semis|
|5/12/74||MIL vs. BOS||L, 102-87||NBA Finals|
3. Big Threes
While Brooklyn’s Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving has only played together for 43 seconds in this series, the Bucks’ trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday has been together for every game – none bigger than Game 6 as they combined to score 89 of Milwaukee’s 104 points in the win. The Milwaukee Big Three scored 85.6% of the Bucks’ total points and matched Brooklyn’s entire team in a 104-89 win to stave off elimination.
Middleton finished with a playoff career-high 38 points (11-16 FG, 5-8 3P, 11-12 FT), 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals; Antetokounmpo had 30 points (12-20 FG, 0 3PA) and 17 boards; Holiday added 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Giannis posted his fourth straight game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, which is the longest playoff streak in the NBA since Russell Westbrook had four in a row in 2017. Since 1984, there have only been eight streaks of four games or longer of 30-10 playoff games. If Giannis posts a 30-10 in Game 7, it would be the first streak longer than four games since Shaq had seven in a row from May 31, 2002 to April 20, 2003.
The Nets have announced that Kyrie Irving (ankle) will be out for Game 7 due to his high ankle sprain, but Harden is expected to play his third straight game since returning from injuring his hamstring in the opening minute of Game 1. Harden had just five points on 1-10 shooting in his first game back (Game 5), but had 16 points on 5-9 FG, 3-6 3P, with seven assists, five rebounds and four steals in Game 6 as he continues to push through the injury.
4. Bucks Defense
The Nets won the first two games of the series and averaged 120 points with 49.5%-44.4%-87.5% shooting splits, which was similar to their offensive production during the regular season (118.6 ppg, 2nd) and first round of the postseason (123.4 ppg, 2nd). However, after taking that 2-0 lead, the Nets have averaged just 95.5 ppg with 43.0%-31.2%-78.5% shooting splits over the past four games as Milwaukee has gotten back into this series.
While Irving’s absence since midway through Game 4 and Harden’s limited mobility since returning in Game 5 have played a role in Brooklyn’s offensive struggles, Milwaukee has also been better defensively. In the first two games, the Nets averaged 53.5 open shot attempts (closest defender at least four away); in the past four games, that number has dropped to 38.1 open attempts per game.
5. First Quarters
The Bucks led Game 6 wire-to-wire as they opened the game on an 18-5 run, led by seven points (26-19) at the end of the first quarter, and answered every Brooklyn run the rest of the way as the Nets never got closer than four points. Through the first six games of the series, the first quarter is the only period where Milwaukee has the cumulative advantage (159-137) as Brooklyn is +13 in second quarters (172-159), +22 in third quarters (166-144) and +11 in fourth quarters (147-136). The Bucks are +23 in the first quarter in their three wins (+19, -3, +7) and -1 in their three losses (+2, -17, +14).