Denver at Milwaukee -4 O/U 200
Neither team playing well right now as they each sit at 6-11 and in last place of their respective divisions. Denver has lost six straight and have had numerous injuries to deal with thus far especially to their big men. The Bucks have had some early season injuries as well but currently head coach Jason Kidd is trying to correct their leaky defense. In that regard, Kidd went to a different starting lineup yesterday in Charlotte and the switches did help as Milwaukee allowed just 87 points in the five-point loss. Beyond just replacing starting PG Michael Carter-Williams and PF Jabari Parker in the lineup, the larger picture is the message Kidd is sending to his team about the need to defend better. Off of a season where defense became the Bucks calling card, it has likely been more lack of effort rather than lock down ability and have to believe this group will build off Sunday’s result and step it up on that end. Kidd is still pondering what his best starting lineup will be but his message appears to have been received by the team.
The returns of Kenneth Faried and Joffrey Lauvergne to the lineup Saturday gave Denver a solid complement of frontcourt players for the first time since their opener. Expect their minutes to rise tonight versus the Bucks long athletic front line. The Nuggets will again be without Gary Harris Jr. tonight due to a concussion but backup veteran Randy Foye stepped in for him Saturday night. He could provide some short term steadiness for Mike Malone who is dealing with extreme youth and inconsistency.
This matchup has both coaches entering somewhat frustrated with their teams and looking for ways to end their losing streaks. Denver has won 10 of the last 11 between these two including a 103-102 win in Denver 19 days ago. The lineups were very different in that contest as Milwaukee did not have Parker, Carter-Williams or SG O.J. Mayo while Denver was without the Lauvergne and Jameer Nelson. Despite being on the short end of recent series history, like the Bucks in this one to be fully focused on the defensive end against erratic shooting Denver which is 22nd in the league with a 42.9 FG%. Back-to-back situation shouldn’t hinder Milwaukee here so play here is on the short priced home favorite.