It is a potential NBA Finals preview on Thursday night, as the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers started this week with the best record in the Western Conference at 23-4, while the Bucks began the week with the top record in the Eastern Conference at 23-4. This is the most anticipated game of the season so far, with the winner getting early bragging rights. The Lakers feature LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the Bucks have last year’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Let’s look at the game between the Lakers and Bucks and NBA picks.
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- Date and Time: Thursday, December 19, 2019, 8:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Fiserv Forum
- Opening NBA Odds: Check Back Later
- Lakers vs. Bucks TV Coverage: TNT
The Lakers have been dominating opponents all season, as they have lost just four games. They do have a bit of a scheduling disadvantage, as they played at Indiana on Tuesday, while the Bucks had Tuesday and Wednesday off. The Lakers have been excellent on the road, as they were 14-1 on the road before Tuesday’s game at Indiana. The Lakers score plenty of points, as they are 8th in the league in points per game, but it is their defense that has shined, as they are 2nd in the league in fewest points allowed.
The Bucks have been rolling all NBA season and they entered this week on an 18-game winning streak. They have the top offense in the league, averaging about 121 points per game. Giannis is averaging about 31 points per game and he is also dominating the glass, pulling down over 12 rebounds per game.
The bad news for Milwaukee is that they will be without point guard Eric Bledsoe. He is expected to be out for at least another week. "It's tough," Antetokounmpo said to the media, "One of the best players on the team. He's been playing amazing. Not just this winning streak, he's been playing amazing the whole season. Obviously a big piece of this team, but I think guys step up." Bledsoe is averaging 15 points per game and 5.7 assists per contest. The Bucks will be counting on Donte DiVincenzo to pick up the slack while Bledsoe is out.
The Bucks took both games against the Lakers last season, winning 115-101 in Milwaukee and 131-120 in Los Angeles. The Bucks have taken 7 of the last 10 overall in the series, with six of the last ten going over the total. Milwaukee has done well at home in this NBA series, winning 7 of the last 10. Six of those ten went over the total.
This is definitely a game of star power with James and Davis going up against Giannis. The public will be expecting a high scoring game that goes over the total. What should be noted, however, is that the Lakers play really good defense. They are second in the league in fewest points allowed. Another thing that might be overlooked is that Bledsoe is out for the Bucks. He runs the Milwaukee offense and they are simply not as potent without him in the lineup. The Bucks could still pull this game out, but I am a bit leery of taking Milwaukee while they are missing Bledsoe. I think the better choice is to take this game under the total.
Lakers vs. Bucks Score Prediction: Lakers 103, Bucks 102
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