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James Harden and Kyrie Irving Ruled Out for Game Five

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Time for the Milwaukee Bucks to take advantage

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We all sort of assumed this was coming, but the Brooklyn Nets made it official that James Harden and Kyrie Irving won’t be available for Tuesday’s Game Five against the Milwaukee Bucks.

While I’d say I’m on team #baninjuries, this is an incredibly fortunate stroke of luck for a Bucks team that looked like they were destined to be blown off the court in four games less than a week ago. Instead, they flipped the script with an ugly Game Three victory and pulling away after Kyrie Irving left Game Four.

That leaves an incredible burden on Kevin Durant, who will no doubt be the beneficiary of some potentially tighter officiating after the postgame comments of Steve Nash. Durant is an unbelievably gifted scorer who is likely due some shooting regression himself after shooting a combined 20-53 over the last two contests. Still, we saw what happened in the second half of Game Four when he was forced into a greater creation role. The turnovers started to come, and that’s when Milwaukee can pounce on the Nets, who’ve been incredible at safeguarding their possessions before this last contest. It also leads to guys like Mike James having a greater offensive burden, and we saw that he is no Kyrie Irving when it comes to finishing at the rim.

Still, Milwaukee may have shown a far better offensive flow, but their halfcourt offense still left plenty to be desired. They have a ways to go to look like the Milwaukee offense from the regular season, but they have little to no excuses for not being able to take advantage of a Brooklyn team that is depleted to this level. We’ll find out if the Bucks can come through on Tuesday evening.