Golden State at Milwaukee +6.5 O/U 225
Last year, here at the Bradley Center, the Bucks gave the Warriors everything they could handle, losing by only three points as a nine point home underdog. Two years ago, Jason Kidd’s squad pulled off the outright upset against Golden State on this floor, winning by 13 as nine point dogs. Clearly, Kidd and the Bucks get up for their only home game against the defending champs.
This year’s Milwaukee squad is better – much better – than recent editions. Giannis Antetokounmpo has morphed into a superstar. Point guard Eric Bledsoe has clearly sparked the offense. Kris Middleton is averaging more than 20 points per game. Malcolm Brogdon is continuing to develop off his ‘Rookie of the Year’ campaign in 2017.
The end result? Milwaukee’s offensive execution is as good as it’s been at any point in the Kidd era, and it’s getting better by the week. For the full season, Milwaukee ranks #7 in offensive efficiency. Since Christmas, they’re at #4 in the NBA. And that’s a problem for the disjointed Warriors as they start their toughest road trip of the season (upcoming games at Toronto, Cleveland, Chicago and Houston) tonight.
Golden State has been shuttling key players in and out of the lineup for weeks, dealing with a barrage of injuries. Klay Thompson sat on Wednesday vs. the Clippers. Steph Curry turned his ankle in practice, questionable this evening. Curry’s quote is laced with frustration: “I was just doing my normal shooting routine, and just stepped on the floor and twisted my ankle. Nothing serious, just obviously frustrating...I have to deal with the mental of having to play so well, miss 11 games, come back, get my legs underneath me, and then miss a game or whatnot. That’s more the part that’s hard to swallow right now.”
That’s not all. Andre Igoudala is banged up again, forced to leave the game with a knee injury on Wednesday. And Kevin Durant missed three games last week. Remember, after signing Kevin Durant, Golden State’s "deepest roster in the league" isn’t quite as deep these days.
All of these key injuries have led to a rather dramatic decline in the Warriors defensive execution in recent weeks. After beating the Cavs on Christmas Day, Golden State ranked #3 in the NBA allowing 102.5 points per 100 possessions. Since Christmas, the Warriors have allowed 109.9 points per 100 possessions, only #20 in the NBA. That significant decline hasn’t been picked up by the betting markets just yet. Fear the Deer!