|-2 MIL (-105) @ pinnacle|
My NBA 10* Game of the Month is on the Mil Bucks at 7:35 ET.
It's safe to say that James Harden's Brooklyn debut will be remembered for some time. Two days after the Nets officially acquired him from Houston in a massive deal that cost them Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, Harden started slowly and wound up with 32 points, 14 assists, and 12 rebounds in 40 minutes. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 14 assists broke the franchise record set by Kevin Porter in 1977 for most assists in a Nets debut. Harden posted his 47th career triple-double and became the seventh player to get a triple-double in his debut with a new team. Brooklyn's 122-115 win over the Magic was its season-high third straight win and Kevin Durant sure didn't seem to mind 'sharing the stage' with Harden, as he scored a season-high 42 points. The question on Monday (MLK Day) is can Harden can produce an impressive sequel when the Milwaukee Bucks visit Brooklyn for a nationally televised contest between teams many think will meet in the Eastern Conference finals?
Milwaukee heads to Brooklyn after getting a 112-109 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points on 14-of-21 shooting but also missed nine of his 10 free throws. Antetokounmpo is having another terrific season (26.8-10.0-5.2) but is shooting a career-worst 57.5 percent from the line. SF Khris Middleton (21.8-6.5-5.7) is on pace for a career-season and added 25 points and hit two clutch three-pointers in the final two-plus minutes after Milwaukee squandered a 14-point lead against the Mavs. Bledsoe is gone but Jrue Holiday (15.2-4.2-5.0) has filled his role VERY well. Guard DiVincenzo ((10.3 & 4.1) and center Brook Lopez (9.3 & 5.3) join the above three in the starting lineup. A trio of guards add about 20 PPG off the bench plus the 6-10 Portis (11.5 & 8.2) has been a HUGE addition in his role of coming off the bench.
Giving up LeVert (18.5-3.3-6.0), Allen (11.2 & 10.4) and Prince (8.1) plus losing Dinwiddie (20.6 & 6.8 APG last season) after just three games to an ACL are no small losses. Then there is Kyrie (27.1-5.3-6.1) "situation." Irving missed his sixth straight game (against Orlando) due to personal reasons and health and safety protocols. The Nets are 4-3 without Irving this season, while Durant is averaging 34.5 points in four games since returning from missing three games due to protocols. Milwaukee comes in on a four-game winning streak and is 7-1 in its last eight games, a stretch where the Bucks are averaging 119.0 PPG. Milwaukee owns the East's best point-differential (plus-10.7), a GREAT indicator of the strength of a team. "Statement Game" here for the Bucks!