Both Kyrie Irving and James Harden have been ruled out for today’s Game 5 of Brooklyn’s second-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Nets‘ head coach Steve Nash even said he has no idea if either of them will be back later in the series. What does that mean for the Bucks?
If the second half of Game 4 is an indication of what’s to come, Milwaukee should be a lock to make the ECF. After Irving left the game with an ankle injury midway through the second quarter, the Bucks dominated the Nets, tying the series at two games apiece, holding Kevin Durant scoreless in the 4th quarter.
With two of the Nets’ three superstars out, tonight’s game should be no different. That’s why Charles Barkley describes Game 5, as well as the rest of the series, as the defining moment for this Bucks team.
This is the defining moment, in my opinion. Unless Joe Harris, Mike James, and Blake are diving all over the floor, but it don’t matter; they don’t have enough talent to beat the Bucks team. If I’m the Milwaukee Bucks, this is our moment, because as long as they don’t outwork us, they can’t beat us.Charles Barkley, Insde the NBA
The Nets looked fine without Harden. They were even a few possessions away from going up 3-0 in the series. But Kyrie’s injury widens the talent gap in favor of the Bucks, turning them into heavy favorites to advance to Conference Finals. Any other outcome, according to Barkley, would be embarrassing.
If the Milwaukee Bucks lose this series without James Harden for the entire series, now no Kyrie, this will be one of the biggest choke jobs in basketball history.Charles Barkley, Insde the NBA
On paper, the rest of this series looks as one-sided as it gets — especially judging by how the Bucks defended KD after Irving went to the locker room in Game 4. Even if Brooklyn’s role players do step up, the team is simply too superstar-centric for Harden’s and Irving’s absence to be compensated by the rest of the guys.
That’s why this might be the best chance the Bucks are going to get to make the Eastern Conference Finals. And they better capitalize on it. They were already labeled as an underperforming team in the postseason. Losing to the injury-riddled Brooklyn Nets might be their final nail in the coffin.
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