Bucks Lead

With Streak Over, Bucks Set Sights on Possible Finals Preview

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The Milwaukee Bucks have been dominating the Eastern Conference for a little over an entire month now. They had an 18-game win streak that wasn’t even threatened until Monday night when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks. In the last 10 games, the only one that was even close was the November 25th meeting against the Utah Jazz – a team they previously lost to. The Jazz beat the Bucks in Utah, but the Bucks got it back at home in a thrilling 122-118 win.

Other than that game, it’s pretty much been the Bucks smashing everyone they play by either double-digits or near double-digits (nine). But on Monday, they faced a surging Dallas Mavericks team for the first time this year and now the west-leading Los Angeles Lakers tonight. Teams in the Western Conference – specifically the Jazz and Mavs –  are the only ones to give the Deer any trouble this season. So, now that they’ve had their first dose of trouble this week, will they get another tonight?

 

 

Despite the fact that the Mavs were 17-8 and third in the Western Conference, when we check the lines at NBA odds at SBR, we see the Bucks listed as double-digit favorites in the affair. It’s amazing to think that the Bucks are good enough to be listed 11-point favorites against one of the best teams in the league.

How They Matched Up

On Monday, two of the most potent offenses in the league collided. The Bucks have the No. 1 scoring offense with 121.19 points per game and the Dallas Mavericks are the No. 3 offense with 118.12 per game. But it gets even closer when we look at the home vs. away stats. The Dallas Mavericks are the No. 1 road team in the NBA, putting up over 120 points per game away from home. On the other side of the coin, the Bucks are the No. 1 home offense with 122 and change going up each night at Fiserv Forum.

So just like we expected, we got an offensive showcase on Monday night. It didn’t matter that the Bucks had the No. 12 home defense and No. 12 overall scoring defense in the league. It also didn’t matter that Luka Doncic was out, because Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry stepped up in big ways, scoring 26 points each, and Porzingis double-doubling with 12 rebounds.

Most expected the Bucks’ defense to get the job done, but you simply can’t win them all. Their 18-game win streak came to an end as the Dallas Mavericks went into Fiserv and walked away with a 120-116 victory over arguably the best team in the NBA. This is (close to) the same Dallas team that beat the Lakers earlier this season, so we should now consider them a legitimate playoff threat.

A Possible NBA Finals Preview

When the Lakers come to town tonight, we’ll get a sneak preview of a possible 2020 NBA Finals showdown. The Lakers are an NBA-best 14-2 on the road. Just like the Bucks, they seem unstoppable. The experiment of playing Anthony Davis with LBJ and then adding x-factors like Dwight Howard, seems to be working quite well. The Lakers’ road offense is pretty good, No. 6 in the NBA with 114.5 points per game. Their road defense is No. 7 in the league with just 106 and change allowed. 

It will be interesting and exciting to see how these two powerhouse teams match up against each other. The Lakers played their first month of basketball with incredible defense, but have since slipped a little. That said, they have shown the ability to completely shut down any team they play by keeping their opponents under 100 points. How will the Bucks’ offense deal handle AD and Dwight Howard roaming in the paint? And can they stop the Lakers from scoring? 

The Bucks should be favorites tonight, but how close can the Lakers keep the score? If we get the toe-to-toe matchup everyone is anticipating, it could very well indicate that this could turn into a seven-game series come June. But if the Bucks absolutely dominate the Lakers and look like they have favorable matchups, then we as fans might go into the rest of the season with a bit more confidence in bringing an NBA Title back to Wisconsin.

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