It’s a showdown between two top MVP candidates as Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks pay Damian Lillard and the rising Portland Trail Blazers a visit.
Catch this game tomorrow, 10 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Portland Trail Blazers (29-18, 14-9 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG – Damian Lillard
- SG – CJ McCollum
- SF – Norman Powell
- PF – Robert Covington
- C – Jusuf Nurkic
The Blazers come in to the contest holding a four-game winning streak. It’s a run that parades a good offensive output as they are averaging 120.8 points and 16 threes per game in that span, along with an average winning margin of 9.5 points.
Such momentum is just what they need as they try to even the season series with the Bucks, who dominated them in their meeting last February, 134-106 (the lead was actually at 42 at the end of the third quarter). CJ McCollum was out at that time with a foot injury, and Damian Lillard got held to just 19 points and 13 shots. The Bucks defense did give up 30 points to youngster Nassir Little, but it mostly came when the game was out of hand.
Heading to tomorrow, the Lillard-McCollum tandem is in form. Dame is averaging 31 points and 7.3 assists over his last 12 while CJ is at 26 points and 6.5 assists in his last four.
Aside from those two usual suspects, though, there’s trade deadline acquisition Norman Powell, Carmelo Anthony, and the now-healed Jusuf Nurkic. Powell will be in his fourth game with the team and has averaged 16.3 points on 51.7% shooting in his first three outings as a Blazer.
ROAD TEAM: (30-17, 12-10 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG – Jrue Holiday
- SG – Donte DiVincenzo
- SF – Khris Middleton
- PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C – Brook Lopez
The Bucks snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The skid shouldn’t be much of a concern either way, though, as they are 14-4 in their last 18 games.
Confidence is also flowing well as the aforementioned victory over the Blazers featured a fantastic offensive display. The Bucks scored 134 points, shot 55.2% from the floor, made 21 threes, and dished out a personal season-high 38 assists. Six guys also reached double figures.
The team’s trio of elite two-way stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.3 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 6.3 APG), Khris Middleton (20.3 PPG, 6 RPG, 5.4 APG), and Jrue Holiday (16.4 PPG, 5.2 APG, 1.8 SPG), are all in good separate stretches. They should be able to showcase what they do best yet again.
The Bucks are second in the league in scoring and rebounding at 118.9 PPG and 48.1 RPG, respectively. The tenacity on the boards will be a factor as the Blazers are a mediocre rebounding team, ranking just 18th overall.
ATS, the Blazers are 5-2 in their last seven games, while the Bucks are just 4-8 in their last eight. Because Giannis is in a favorable match-up and Dame isn’t, though, I expect Milwaukee to pull through on the -3.5 spread.
These are two highly capable squads on the offensive end. The Blazers have exceeded the over four-straight times and the Bucks have done the same in eight of their last 10 games. Go with the over on 236.5.