Milwaukee at Golden St.
Time: 9:30 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: GSW -6
Odds c/o Bovada
The Milwaukee Bucks are 8-2 and in second place in the Eastern Conference. It now, though, takes on the best in the West, the 11-1 Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, where Steph Curry and company have yet to lose this season (6-0). The Bucks are just 2-2 on the road, where it has suffered both its losses this season. Golden State is 6-point favorites in this game, the second of a TNT double-header, at 9:30 PM CT.
The over/under is set high at 240 points, as the Warriors average 123.5 points per game and the Bucks average 120 per game. It makes sense, and it even could go ‘over’ if the pace is as quick as we expect it to be.
The Bucks lost its last outing 103-118 to the Portland Trail Blazers. Prior to that, it defeated the Sacramento Kings, a much improved former bottom feeder in the West. Milwaukee has one of the league’s top talents in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and he has been nothing short of sensational on both ends of the court. The forward is averaging 25.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and over two blocks/steals per game while posting a PER of 26.3. But helping him a lot has been Khris Middleton, who could make his first All-Star bid this season.
Middleton is averaging 19.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. Beyond that, the Bucks have received stellar play from its backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon. The pair combines for 25.1 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists per game, and it easily ranks as one of the better, underrated backcourts.
Brook Lopez has been somewhat disappointing, but he is serving his role as a post scorer. Problematically, the 7-foot center is averaging just three rebounds per game in his 25.2 minutes per night, though. It has led the Bucks to give plenty of playing time to Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson, both of whom are better in all facets outside of scoring.
Rookie Donte DiVicenzo has impressed the Bucks with his energy off the bench, seeing 20.5 minutes per game as a rookie and bringing a lot of intangibles with his 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Milwaukee has far better depth than often credited for, although its top end talents of Antetokounmpo and Middleton are what carries it. The Bucks also lost Jabari Parker over the offseason, but that seems to be an “addition by subtraction,” as Parker seldom played inspired defense and he is struggling mightily in his new home in Chicago.
The Warriors just keep on cruising with its All-Star laden lineup. If that was not enough, it is now getting major contributions from its youngsters. Perhaps the only thing that can stop this dynasty is it, itself. Golden State has won nine straight games, and it is again on pace to rack up close to 70 wins this season, probably. Curry is leading the team with 31.3 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, and he is probably the frontrunner for league MVP at this early juncture. Kevin Durant is almost quietly adding 28 points per game as the No. 2 scorer, and no one can ignore the shooting theatrics of Klay Thompson, who recently connected on 14 threes in a game.
Forward Draymond Green is struggling a little, but it has hardly mattered with the top-3 scorers all playing so well. Green averages just 7.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game this year, and he is seeing under 30 minutes per game, but that is mostly because of the Warriors superb depth and the emergence of Alfonzo McKinnie, the newest “name” to join the cast. With McKinnie and Kevon Looney, the Warriors have a pair of prospects who could both eventually play major roles if one of the superstars (Durant?!) is to depart this offseason, next, or anytime soon. It almost seems unfair the way the Warriors have stacked its supporting cast in addition to its top-shelf talent, but enjoying this dynasty seems like the only thing left in the Association, as the Warriors have made the past four NBA Finals.