The Milwaukee Bucks step into tonight’s heavyweight fight against the Golden State Warriors, coming off a 110-103 not-as-close-as-the-score-made-it-seem victory over the Orlando Magic. With the defending champs in town, the team will be busting out their black, Fear the Deer, alternates and accompanying court design.
The Bucks have alternated wins and losses in each of their past six games and are looking to buck that trend and start a winning streak tonight against Golden State. Wednesday night’s game featured a fourth quarter that was rife with bench players getting some run while the starters mostly rested up for tonight. For the 30th time this year, Giannis Antetokounmpo, led the Bucks in scoring. This time he notched 26 points and efficiently converted on two-thirds of his shot attempts. The bench’s combined +/- rating against Orlando was a dreadful -64 with Matthew Dellavedova leading the charge at -6. The Bucks will have to get something from their bench tonight if they want to make this a game in the second half.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
I am assuming that Stephen Curry will be okay and suit up for tonight’s contest after missing Wednesday night’s game. That being said, how Bledsoe does defending him will be a big factor. With Curry’s ankle bothering him, he might not trust himself to be as fluid off the ball as he would like to be. Of course, how the defensive scheme plans on rotating, switching, blitzing, etc. the Warriors offense will be the big thing to watch and Bledsoe is going to be front and center.
As mentioned above, Curry sat out Golden State’s 125-106 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with an ankle sprain that he tweaked during pregame shoot-around. Also missing from the Warriors lineup was fellow “Splash Bro,” Klay Thompson, who had the night off. Kevin Durant made history on Wednesday night, as he became the second youngest player in NBA history to reach the 20,000 point threshold. He also posted a season-high 40 point mark in the loss as he had to shoulder the perimeter offensive load in Curry and Thompson’s absence.
Player to Watch: Draymond Green
By now it is obvious that both John Henson and Thon Maker can get bullied and Green might be the NBA’s biggest bully. The undersized power forward will seamlessly shift over to the center position and not skip a beat. In his last five games, Green has recorded three double-doubles and one triple-double while averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Mitigating Green’s output won’t be enough to single-handedly stymie the Warriors offense, but it will help. If he gets frustrated enough maybe he’ll get a technical.
What Vegas Says
The fine folks over at Bovada Sportsbook have listed the Bucks as six point home underdogs and have the over/under set at 224. If we average out each team’s offensive and defensive ratings, we should see a final score of 113-108 in favor of the Warriors. Using that logic, go ahead and take the Bucks at +6 and bet the under, although I feel like this game will eclipse that 224 total point mark.