Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings
Time: 9 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: SAC -1.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Milwaukee Bucks seem to have righted the ship with Jason Kidd back on the sidelines, but the team is still patently mediocre as winners of five of its past 10 games. Milwaukee is just 7-21 on the road and will travel to face the Sacramento Kings who have dropped their past four games.
NBA oddsmakers are favoring the hosting Kings by 1.5 points in the game.
The Kings will be without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins who sprained his ankle in Saturday night’s 121-117 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. It is a big blow: Cousins averages 27 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season, leading the Kings in all three categories. With him out, Rudy Gay will no doubt be front and center of the offense as the Kings second leading scorer. Gay has averaged 18 points per game this season and is certainly a capable scorer even if his game lacks in other areas.
Guards Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison also might be more aggressive in looking for their shots, as both average about 12 points per game this season. Omri Casspi has had his name pop up in a couple trade rumors, and the 6’9” Israeli forward is having a good season with 12 points and five boards per game.
The Kings are a team with enough talent and weapons that it should be able to hold off Milwaukee even without Cousins. NBA oddsmakers tend to agree in favoring the Kings, though Sacto is just 12-12 at home this season.
The Bucks dropped its past two games to the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies. The most recent was the 107-103 loss to the Heat last night. The Bucks got big games from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe, who scored 52 points between them.
Antetokounmpo had three steals and a two blocks, as well, but the Bucks allowed Miami to shoot 50 percent from the floor and Milwaukee also had 19 turnovers in the game. The Bucks have not been altogether too sharp on a lot of crucial elements which is leading to the losses.
Milwaukee also may have been expecting more from No. 2 overall pick in 2014 Jabari Parker. Parker is averaging just 11 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while looking very average this season. He was off to a hot start last year in his rookie campaign but battled injury early this season and has hardly taken the league by storm since returning.
Parker is efficient, hitting 48.8 percent from the field, but he is not a threat from three point range. The Bucks are pitiful in three-point offense, too, hitting just 5.4 per game at a 34.6 clip.
The Bucks lone shooters are Khris Middleton and Jerryd Bayless, both of whom hit about two per game and get no help from the rest of the Bucks roster. Middleton, for his part, is playing to the max contract he received this summer in averaging 17.7 points per game as Milwaukee’s leading scorer.
Big man Greg Monroe has been a weird fit in Jason Kidd’s offense, but he is still averaging 16 points and nine rebounds per game. The Bucks have an odd admixture of talent, and it will be interesting to see if the team can ever recapture the defensive brilliance it had a season ago.
The Bucks were one of the most feared defensive teams a season ago but have been exploited all year long despite having a long frontcourt capable of blocking shots and forcing turnovers. Jason Kidd’s hip replacement kept him from the sidelines for a long time, so it may be that we see a more aggressive and focused Bucks team with their full time coach back at the helm.