The Milwaukee Bucks won the first meeting last January, 107-99, with the Denver Nuggets’ MVP, Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray, both out with injuries. Now that he’s expected to play, can The Joker lead his troop to a victory?
Catch the game tomorrow at 9:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Denver Nuggets (49-24, 30-6 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Jamal Murray
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Michael Porter Jr.
- Aaron Gordon
- Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets are on a smooth rhythm as of late. They are now 3-1 in their last four games, averaging 113.8 points per game with a +8 net rating. They have also hot 50% or better in six consecutive contests.
With Jokic (24.8 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 9.9 APG) and Murray (20.1 PPG, 6.1 APG) sidelined in that January meeting against the Bucks, Aaron Gordon led the attack in their place, tallying a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds, alongside two blocks. The team’s star duo is expected to play tomorrow, so don’t expect Gordon to have a repeat stat line – not that he can be as productive again. Either way, we should see a Jokic-Murray tandem that’s eager to avenge the loss.
Michael Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Bruce Brown will remain with Gordon as the secondary weapons. It’s a solid bunch that collectively provides a little bit of everything. MPJ, in particular, has 20.2 points and 3.8 threes over his six previous outings.
Denver is 15-6 in its last 21 games at home ATS.
AWAY: Milwaukee Bucks (53-20, 23-13 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Jrue Holiday
- Grayson Allen
- Khris Middleton (day-to-day) / Pat Connaughton
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Brook Lopez
The league-leading Bucks are 5-1 in their last six games. Their last two victories have also featured them steamrolling the opposition – 130-94 against the San Antonio Spurs and 144-116 over the Utah Jazz. Such is simply what you’d expect from a top 10 scoring team who’s also top 5 in points allowed and defensive rating.
Tomorrow is the second leg of a back-to-back, so there’s a possibility that some starters are out. However, note that Saturday’s one-sided affair with the Jazz allowed everyone to play minimal minutes, including Giannis, who only logged 25 minutes, making his 24 points and 11 assists on 10-for-13 shooting line even better. Middleton, meanwhile, sat out the game to rest, so he may suit up.
Two-way guard and great facilitator Jrue Holiday, alongside sweet-shooting and shot-blocking specialist Brook Lopez, will each provide damage on their respective fields, but it’s role player Pat Connauhgton who gets an extra spotlight. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and five threes in that aforementioned victory vs. Denver, and against Utah, he posted 22 points, six threes, and swatted two shots.
The Bucks are 11-1 in their last 12 road games ATS.
Handicap: The Nuggets (-2.5) outlast the Bucks and cover the spread.