Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks are the hottest team in the NBA, and tonight they’ll host the Los Angeles Clippers in an interconference matchup that could be an NBA Finals Preview.
The Bucks have won their last 13 games and are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA’s best record at 19-3. At home, the Bucks have been 9-1, which should make Fiserv Forum a formidable presence for the Clippers.
The Clippers started the season off strong and initially took some time to blend together Kawhi Leonard and Paul George when George returned from injury. Since then though, they seem to be on the right track, winning nine of their last 10 games. The Clippers are entering tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak and are third in the Western Conference with a 16-6 record.
The Clippers are 3-5 on the road this season. The Bucks won the first game of the season series on November 6, 129-124. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 38 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists, while Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 34 points and 11 assists with Kawhi Leonard sitting out.
Time: 8:30 PM ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Channel: FSPT, FSWIS
Clippers: JaMychael Green (P), Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Amir Coffey (O)
Bucks: Sterling Brown (O)
LA Clippers Starting Lineup
After surprisingly dropping a game last Friday to the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Clippers have bounced back with two dominant wins, a 150-125 win over the Washington Wizards, and a 117-97 thrashing of the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Unlike the last time they played, Kawhi Leonard will have two days of full rest entering tonight’s matchup so he will be squaring off against Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Clippers seem to finally have found their footing after the initial transition of integrating Paul George into the lineup, but head coach Doc Rivers says there’s still work to do.
“The best part of this team, in my opinion, is that we’re not near where we’re going to be and you can feel that. Our guys know that. They know that we’re playing winning basketball,” Rivers said. “We’re playing together, we’re playing hard, we’re talking, but they also know we don’t have it together yet. They know that. They can feel that.”
With Leonard held to 11 points in 28 minutes against Portland, Paul George shouldered the scoring load with 25 points. They also got some great production off the bench, as has been their calling card all season. Montrezl Harrell had 26 points and nine rebounds, Patrick Patterson had 19 points and Lou Williams finished with nine points.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
The Bucks are an insane 13-game winning streak and lately, they’ve not just been winning, they’re winning big with blowouts against the Hornets (137-96), Knicks (132-88) and on Wednesday night in a 127-103 win over the Pistons.
The Pistons tried to do their best to use their big men to body up Giannis and the game got physical, with six technical fouls being called, but Giannis credited his teammates for keeping him focused.
“There’s going to be a lot of teams that are going to come out and try to be physical with me, try to hit me, knock me down to the floor,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’ve just got to keep my composure. I think I have great teammates that always talk to me and tell me, ‘Stay focused. Stay in the game.'”
Giannis did exactly that with a 35-point, nine rebound performance. Khris Middleton had 17 points, Eric Bledsoe added 13, and they also had double-digit performances off the bench from Robin Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova.
Key Player Matchups
Kawhi Leonard vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Is your popcorn popped yet? This is the matchup people couldn’t wait to see last month. While they line up in different positions, I can’t imagine these two being pitted against each other. They are both MVP candidates and two of the best two-way players in the league. Leonard is the more capable shooter, especially with a pull-up mid-range jumper that is absent from Giannis’ repertoire, but Giannis is like a freight train in transition and that’s a game-changer. This should be a fun one to watch.
Patrick Beverley vs. Eric Bledsoe
Beverley and Bledsoe are two of the most dogged, physical defenders at the point guard position. They are both capable of scoring, especially for Bledsoe when the Bucks are out in transition and he turns on the jets to finish at the rim.
Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo are tonight’s standouts. Leonard is available for $8.4k on FanDuel with a projection of 48.75 points. Giannis is poised for an even bigger game with a 59.61 point projection. His salary is $11.3k.
Khris Middleton is a nice budget option for $6.3k and a projection of 33.62 points. Go with Montrezl Harrell on the Clippers roster. His salary of $6.5k is expected to net you 34.3 points.
Bet on Matchup
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