It’s a battle between an athletic freak in Zion Williamson and the Greek Freak in Giannis Antetokounmpo this Friday, as the New Orleans Pelicans look to double down on their mastery of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Catch this game live on Friday, February 26, at 10:30 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (19-13, 12-4 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: DJ Augustin
- SG: Donte DiVincenzo
- SF: Khris Middleton
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Brook Lopez
Still without Jrue Holiday, the Bucks nevertheless extended their win streak to three games after dismantling the Minnesota Timberwolves, 139-112 at home last Wednesday.
The Bucks have not played away from the Twin City since Feb. 15, and the fact that they don’t have to travel for their games of late has apparently made a positive impact on them, though, they recently lost back-to-back contests against the Toronto Raptors.
Since then, Milwaukee has defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings, and the T’wolves — under .500 teams just like Bucks’ next opponents, the Pelicans. Holiday has not seen action in the last nine Milwaukee games his chances of playing against New Orleans this Friday are very dim, so that means more workload for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
The Bucks will have to get the 22 points Holiday scored in the first meeting with New Orleans from somewhere else. Bryn Forbes showed he can provide Holiday numbers when he had 23 points off the bench in the Minnesota game.
The Bucks are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games after beating a team by at least 10 points.
ROAD TEAM: New Orleans Pelicans (14-17, 5-10 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Lonzo Ball
- SG: Eric Bledsoe
- SF: Brandon Ingram
- PF: Zion Williamson
- C: Steve Adams
Zion Williamson is an All-Star this season and he played like it on Thursday, when he terrorized the Detroit Pistons’ defense by scoring 32 points on 13-of-18 shooting from the field. Brandon Ingram, meanwhile scored 27 points (9-18 FG) to go with eight assists.
The Pelicans have a fun, high-octane offense that’s hard to stop when it gets going. This season, the Pelicans are averaging 115.2 points per game on 48.3 FG%. New Orleans’ scoring attack is feeding off the efficiency of Williamson, who’s leading all qualified players on the team with a 65.9 TS%.
The Bucks couldn’t keep in step with Williamson and the Pelicans back in January’s meeting, a 131-126 victory for New Orleans at home. Four Pelicans starters had at least 21 points, with Ingram blowing up for 28 points while Lonzo Ball stuffed the stat sheets with 27 points, eight assists, and three boards.
The Pelicans are the underdog in this rematch against Milwaukee, but take note that New Orleans has gone 5-2 against the spread in its last seven outings as an underdog.
The Bucks have gotten by of late by beating miserable under. 500 teams, but while the Pelicans are a sub-500 squad right now, they have been feisty of late, even beating the Boston Celtics last Monday. New Orleans goes 2-0 this season against the Bucks with a 124-120 win.