Milwaukee at Golden St.
Time: 9 PM CST (ESPN)
Spread: MIL -13.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Little has gone right for the Golden State Warriors who enter this matchup as losers of its last five games. The visiting Milwaukee Bucks sit atop the East at 32-6, and the Bucks have posted a 12-3 mark against Western Conference opponents this season. Milwaukee is 13.5-point favorites over the Warriors in the second half of an ESPN doubleheader. The over/under is set at 217.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
The Golden State Warriors are just 9-29 on the season and in the last place in the Pacific division. It is, thus far, the worst team in the entire Association, in fact. The Warriors have lost its last five.
This is an unfamiliar territory from a team that had boasted four All-Stars a season ago. Out is Kevin Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets, while the Warriors are also without sharpshooter Klay Thompson. D’Angelo Russell is a dynamite scorer, but the Warriors are also without Stephen Curry for a long period this season due to an injured wrist. Draymond Green returned from injury last game, but he is the only one of the Warriors top-4 players from a year ago to suit up at this point.
For as good as Russell has been, it has not been enough to carry the Dubs to victories. He is averaging 23.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, but he has had efficiency issues (evidenced by his 19.75 PER, which is good, but not outstanding really). The next on the list of active scorers though is rookie and second-round pick Eric Paschall. He has been impressive, almost like a more offensive (and of course less defensive), Draymond Green. Paschall is averaging 14.1 points, 4.5, and 1.8 assists per game.
Former Utah Jazz swingman Alec Burks should add some more scoring, but the Warriors’ issues have been mostly on the defensive end. Golden State scores just 105.3 per game. So, with a patched-up roster consisting of a lot of rookies, young talent, discarded reclamation projects (like Willie Cauley-Stein), the Warriors are simply not a team that stacks up to most of the other teams in the Association anymore.
Milwaukee has been outstanding thus far and has wholly dominated its competition with its 32-6 record thus far.
The Bucks are No. 2 NBA in scoring at 119.2 points per game, but it also has the 10th-most-stingy defense, allowing just 107.3 per game. The Bucks have a win differential of +11.9 points. Milwaukee is the league’s best rebounding team, too, averaging 51.5 boards per contest.
Giannis Antetokounmpo may finally win his elusive MVP award, too. The Greek forward is averaging 30 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game while posting a silly-high PER of 33.72. That does not even take his defensive talents into play, where he averages 2.4 steals/blocks per game while playing outstanding one-on-one defense.
Khris Middleton is the No. 2 scorer at 18.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Eric Bledsoe is the third-option after Middleton with 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. George Hill has been a great sixth man for the Bucks. He is scoring 10 points and dishing three assists per game in just 21 minutes a night.
Veteran center Brook Lopez has been somewhat effective, but his 30.4 percent three-point shooting on 4.8 attempts per game certainly helps keep defenses honest and spreads the court for the Bucks. Lastly, Donte DiVicenzo has stepped into the same role he served at Villanova for the Bucks. He is providing a spark. The second-year guard is averaging 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in just 22.6 minutes per game. He has also started 20 games this season. The Bucks are legitimate contenders, now that the Warriors dynasty has come to its end, and also because LeBron James headed to the Western Conference.