Both teams are coming off terrible defeats against opponents who have a losing record, so we may see two hungry squads. Let’s hope the two MVP candidates can clash on the floor too.
Catch this game tomorrow, 9:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Dallas Mavericks (28-21, 12-10 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG – Luka Doncic
- SG – Josh Richardson
- SF – Dorian Finney-Smith
- PF – Kristaps Porzingis
- C – Maxi Kleber
The Mavericks gave a shockingly disappointing performance on Thursday. Building off five-straight wins, they suddenly lost to the hapless Houston Rockets, 102-93. It was also despite Kristaps Porzingis’s return to the lineup.
While Porzingis played up to par with 23 points and 12 rebounds, the rest basically delivered duds. Luka Doncic, most notably, was only 9-for-26 with five turnovers while other guard, Josh Richardson, missed all of his nine attempts. The Mavs collectively shot just 37.9% from the floor, their second-lowest all season.
Since tomorrow is the second night of a back-to-back, it’s unclear if the recently injured Porzingis will play. Should they decide to sit him out, let’s hope Doncic and the guys can avenge their abysmal outing.
The Mavs lost to the Bucks in their initial meeting last January, 112-109. Doncic dropped a triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 22 points and four threes, while Porzingis double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
Dallas is only 19th in the league in scoring at 111.8 PPG.
ROAD TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (32-18, 14-11 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG – Jrue Holiday
- SG – Donte DiVincenzo
- SF – Khris Middleton
- PF – Bobby Portis (Giannis Antetokounmpo is day-to-day)
- C – Brook Lopez
The Bucks snapped a three-game winning streak on Wednesday as they lost to the struggling Golden State Warriors, 122-121. Don’t be too concerned, though, as Giannis Antetokounmpo was out with a sore knee, though. He’s been sidelined for the last two games.
Obviously, with the reigning back-to-back MVP’s status still uncertain, his two main cohorts will again take the reins. They had some problems on defense, but they did well offensively, with Jrue Holiday scoring a team-high 29 points and Khris Middleton adding 28 – they also combined to shoot 56.7% from the floor. The former, however, had eight turnovers and should look to limit it this time.
Bobby Portis will join Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo as the secondary scorers if Giannis is out. He’s pretty decent as a filler over these past two games, posting 15.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG on 68.4% shooting.
In that aforementioned win over the Mavs, as Middleton had an all-around stat line of 25/8/6, Lopez tallied a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards, Holiday scored 16, dished out five dimes, and collected two steals, and Portis had a season-high 13 rebounds. Giannis, of course, was a monster, scoring 31 in 30 minutes.
The Bucks have overtaken the Nets as the highest-scoring team in the league, with 119.3 PPG.
ATS, the Bucks are only 2-4 in their last six games. The Mavs, meanwhile, are 5-1.
However, since the Bucks are rested a little better, I think they will win the spread. It’s only a thin spread, anyway (-1.5).
The Bucks are always in “go” mode offensively, but since the Mavs are playing in consecutive days, they may play slower than usual. Go with the under 228.5 here.