Looking at the most recent games for the Lakers and Bucks, you’d assume there is more positivity going on on the Lakers’ side compared to the Bucks’ side. The Bucks are on a three-game skid while the Lakers have now notched two wins in a row.
This is, of course, ignoring the context of LeBron James and Anthony Davis remaining out for the Lakers while the Bucks have little-to-no injuries to speak of (also the Lakers’ wins came against the Cavs and the Magic). They’ll be bringing their best to the Staples Center tonight against a Lakers team that recently started Dennis Schröder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, and Marc Gasol.
Although he is not getting as much MVP buzz as he has in the past, the two-time defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has continued his dominance this season. He’s currently averaging 28.4 points (5th in the league), 11.4 rebounds (6th in the league), and 6.3 assists (17th in the league) per game, while the reigning DPOY is also 13th in the league in blocks per game. He had 32 points in the Bucks’ most recent game (129-105 loss to the Clippers) and will more than likely come close to or exceed that mark against the Lakers’ frontcourt.
However, the Lakers will receive an upgrade in their frontcourt defense ahead of their matchup against Antetokounmpo in the form of newly signed Andre Drummond.
He wasn’t able to fully join the Lakers at their facilities until Monday morning, and when asked about his status on Monday he and Frank Vogel both stated that they were not sure if he’d be able to suit up on such short notice.
That rhetoric quickly changed the next day as Vogel announced that Drummond would not only play, but would start (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll). This was rumored at times to be one of the reasons that Drummond wanted to go to the Lakers over teams like the Celtics, Knicks, and Nets, and here we are with that rumor being given credibility right away. He will definitely help as a big body to put in the way of Antetokounmpo and the other Bucks tonight as the Lakers will try their best to extend their winning streak to three.
Here’s the rest of our preview.
The Bucks don’t have any injuries to note from their last game against the Clippers, while the Lakers will continue to be without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Jared Dudley as they rehab their respective long-term injuries.
Davis is currently on pace to return in around two weeks while LeBron will definitely be out for around a month.
Bucks -9; Over/under 222; Bucks moneyline -420 (Nice…also…Lakers moneyline +320)
I’ve only made one betting prediction in the second half of the season, winning that one to make me undefeated in that half so far. That brings my terrible season overall to 16-23-2 as the Lakers have really disappointed me on some of their spreads this season (Lakers are 22-25 against the spread this season according to Action Network compared to their 30-17 overall record).
NBA odds show the Bucks as nine-point favorites and all signs point towards the Bucks covering -9, which you can get at -110 odds. Even with Andre Drummond around to help, they’re far and away in a much better spot than the Lakers in terms of injuries and will be looking to get back on track with a bad taste in their mouth from three straight losses.
Drummond hasn’t played since February 12th and has only been with the team since Wednesday. It’d be a little much to expect his addition to affect a team that much that had just almost dropped a game to the Magic (without Vucevic, Gordon, and Fournier).
Where to watch
The game will be televised at its usual location, Spectrum SportsNet, but it’ll also be nationally televised on ESPN. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. PST.
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