1. Kevin Durant vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
It remains to be seen if Durant will guard Giannis Antetokounmpo. At this stage in his career, he might not be nimble or strong enough to contain the two-time reigning MVP.
With Jeff Green expected to miss at least Game 1 with a strained plantar fascia, we’ll assume the Nets are going to throw a mixed bag at Antetokounmpo, with the likes of Durant, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin taking turns to slow him down.
You might laugh at the idea of Jordan, who didn’t see the floor vs the Celtics, guarding Giannis, but he was actually the Nets’ most effective defender against him during the regular season in terms of allowing the fewest points per possession.
The Nets better have a game plan to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo.
To say Antetokounmpo has found success against Brooklyn this year would be an understatement. In their three meetings this season, he averaged 39.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 48.9% shooting, including 38.5% (!) from three.
It’s duly noted that Harden wasn’t available for the team’s final two regular season matchups, so maybe the Nets are able to overwhelm the Bucks offensively. However, assuming Giannis continues his stellar play, this series may very well be decided on Brooklyn’s ability (or lack thereof), to make life difficult for him.