Milwaukee Bucks (53-9) vs. L.A. Lakers (47-13)
Date/Time: Friday, March 6, 2020 10:00 PM ESPN
In the biggest game on the Friday night schedule in what many think will be a preview of the NBA finals the L.A. Lakers host the Milwaukee Bucks.
On the season Milwaukee is 36-26 ATS with an O/U record of 29-32 and L.A. is 33-26-1 ATS with an O/U record of 30-30.
The Bucks have won eight of their last nine games and in their last game, they were at home and beat the Indiana Pacers 119-100. They have the best record in the NBA, and they are running away with the Eastern Conference 9.5 games up on the second-place Toronto Raptors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up MVP numbers and not only is he favored to win the MVP for the second-straight season, but he may also win Defensive Player of the Year. He leads a more than balanced Milwaukee team that is the highest-scoring team in the league and ranks second in points allowed per game.
The Lakers have won two in a row and nine of their last 10 games and they have the second-best record in the league. They rank seventh in the league in ppg and fifth in points allowed and if there is one player that can take the MVP away from the Greek Freak it is LeBron James. At 35 he is putting up sick numbers and leads the NBA in assists.
Earlier in the season on December 20th in Milwaukee, the Bucks beat the Lakers 111-104.
On the season the Lakers are 22-7 at home and the Bucks are tied with the Lakers for the best road record (25-6) in the league.
Blowout win After Surprising Loss
After losing to the Miami Heat by 16 points where Antetokounmpo was held to only 13 points the Bucks bounced back in their last game with a blowout win over the Pacers where he went for 29 points and 12 rebounds. Milwaukee did not shoot that much better than Indiana (45.7% to 43.3%) but dominated the glass and led by as many as 28 points never trailing in the game.
The Bucks were led by the Greek Freak in the Pacers win with Kris Middleton scoring 20 points and Wesley Mathews and Eric Bledsoe combining for 31 points.
Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.6 ppg and 13.8 rpg and Middleton is averaging 20.9 ppg. Bledsoe is key for the team as the third scorer (15.3 ppg) and he had only totaled 18 points in three games before going for 16 points in the win over the Pacers.
In the earlier season win at home over the Lakers Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 11 rebounds and while Middleton only had 15 points and Bledsoe did not play Geroge Hill came off the bench to score 21 points.
Bucks’ Defense Will be Tested
Milwaukee has a tall task facing the Lakers in their house and will be facing a hot team that has scored 120 and 122 points, respectively, in their last two games. In L.A.’s last game they were at home and beat the Philadelphia 76ers 120-107.
In the win over Philly, Anthony Davis had 37 points and 13 rebounds, King James had 22 points and 14 assists, and the Lakers shot 53.5% from the floor.
Davis and James are combining to average 52 ppg this season and Davis is averaging 9.5 rpg while James is averaging 10.7 assists per game. Each had big games in the earlier loss to the Bucks, but they only combined to shoot 19/44 from the floor.
The Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline and one of their main issues has been having a third scorer. Kyle Kuzma was supposed to take that role and he has been up and down on the season. In the win over the 76ers he only had seven points while in the previous game went for 20 points.
The Bucks have failed to cover the spread in three of their last four road games while the Lakers have covered in four of their last five home games.
The Lakers are rolling this season, but many have pointed out they lost to the Bucks earlier this season and have lost both matchups facing the Clippers, who they face in their next game.
King James and AD will quiet those critics, as they will step up the challenge at home and beat the Bucks covering the spread in what will be a statement game for them.