Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks Preview
Milwaukee is still on their insane streak, winning their last 18 games as they have amassed a 24-3 record, good enough for first in the Eastern Conference and tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the best record in the NBA. The Bucks are an excellent 13-1 at home, but they’ll be without their starting point guard tonight.
Dallas is 17-8 and third in the Western Conference. They lost their last game, but are 7-3 in their last 10. The Mavs are one of the rare NBA teams who perform better on the road than they do at home. They have a 9-2 record on the road this season, but like Milwaukee, they’ll be without a key player as Luka Doncic is sidelined.
This is the first matchup in the regular-season series between the Mavs and Bucks, but they did play in the preseason, with Milwaukee taking the win 118-111 behind Giannis’ 34 points and 11 rebounds.
Time: 8 PM ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Channel: NBA TV
Mavericks: Luka Doncic (O)
Bucks: Dragan Bender, Eric Bledsoe (O)
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
The Mavericks showed on Saturday night that even with Luka Doncic sidelined two minutes into the game, they have talent to play with some of the NBA’s best. If not for getting out to a slow start and giving up 73 points in the first half, they would have had a better chance to win the game, but they battled back in the second half and took the Miami Heat to overtime, eventually losing 122-118.
“If you play hard and do the right things for 48 minutes, you’re going to have a chance in this league,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got plenty on this roster to win a game like this, even with Luka out. We’ve just got to do better.”
With Luka out, Tim Hardaway stepped up, scoring 28 points in the loss. Kristaps Porzingis had 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Jalen Brunson, who steps into the starting lineup with Doncic out, finished with 18 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Maxi Kleber and JJ Barea also scored in double figures off the bench with 17 and 12 points apiece.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Just when Khris Middleton got back to full health and Giannis seems like he has a clean bill of health, the Bucks lose Eric Bledsoe for at least two weeks. The fact Milwaukee has dealt with some injuries to their starers and has still won 18 straight is quite a feat and shows you how dominant they can be.
“We’ve got a deep team, it’s insane,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s about it. (If) Bled is not playing and I’m not playing, this team could be a playoff team. It could be a 50-win team. Obviously Khris, Bled, me, all the other guys that are big parts of this team, but there are days when other guys got to get the job done. So far, we’ve been doing that.”
One of the guys that got the job done in their 18th consecutive win was Donte DiVincenzo, who is starting in place of Bledsoe. In Milwaukee’s 125-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, DiVincenzo had 15 points. George Hil also played some important relief minutes at point guard, finishing with 11 points.
Giannis once again led the Bucks with 29 points, and Middleton had 24 as two of six players reaching double figures.
Key Player Matchups
Kristaps Porzingis vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo
A matchup of NBA unicorns should be a fun one to watch. While Porzingis doesn’t seem quite back to the level he was at before his injury, some of that could be due to him taking a step back so Luka Doncic can lead the team, but with Doncic out, Kristaps will have to be aggressive. Giannis still seems to have the advantage here, but it should be an interesting one to watch regardless.
Khris Middleton vs. Dorian Finney-Smith
Dorian Finney-Smith is a nice rotation piece for the Mavs and he’s having his best season in Dallas yet, but Middleton is on a different level as a scorer and defender. With Bledsoe out, Middleton will have even m0re of the scoring load on his shoulders.
Kristaps Porzingis and Giannis are your standouts in tonight’s matchup. Porzingis is available for $7.8k on Fan Duel and he is expected to finish with a fantasy projection of 36.7 points. Giannis is salaried at $11.1k and has a sky-high projection on 61.2 points.
If you’re looking for a low-cost value option, Milwaukee’s Wesley Matthews is available for just $3.4k and is projected for 18.7 points.
Bet on Matchup
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