NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks ‘over’ 199

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Bucks parted ways with hard-driving defensive minded head coach Scott Skiles yesterday, so look for a loose effort vs. the Phoenix Sun resulting in a fast paced ‘over’ on Tuesday.
There could potentially be an entertaining high-scoring game on Tuesday night in a game where perhaps you may not have expected one before yesterday, as the Phoenix Suns (12-23, 2-14 away) pay a visit to the Milwaukee Bucks (16-16, 9-8 home) at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI at 8:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 199 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -103.

The Bucks reached their high-water mark this season when they beat the NBA Champion Miami Heat 104-85 on December 29th to get to 16-12 on the season, but they have not won a game since while losing four straight games, and then on Monday the organization and Coach Scott Skiles mutually agreed to part ways.

Skiles was a defensive-minded coach that was tough on his players, and while the Bucks improved when  he first arrived on the scene in Milwaukee four years ago, his approach quickly grew old, especially with what is now a roster incompatible with Skiles’ approach as the two best Bucks players, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, are both undersized pure scorers whose height often made them defensive liabilities.

While there were some stretches where Milwaukee bought into Skiles’ defensive style, that was not the case in the Bucks’ last two home game where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets by scores of 117-110 and 115-101 respectively. At least Skiles can take comfort in the fact that his final game as Milwaukee coach was played at a pace more to his liking, albeit in a 95-80 loss at Indiana.

Assistant Jim Boylan will now serve as the interim coach until a permanent successor is named, but that may actually be a blessing for Jennings and Ellis during that interim and perhaps beyond if the Bucks hire a more offensive-minded coach. Until then, the Bucks can do what they do best, which is run up and down the floor and shoot quickly with defense being an afterthought.

Even with Skiles as the coach until now, Milwaukee ranks seventh in the NBA with a pace rating of 96.2 possessions per game, but the Bucks only rank 18th in scoring at 95.9 points per contest because they rank 25th on field goal percentage at 43.1 percent. However, that poor shooting was partly due to the Milwaukee scorers being forced to concentrate on defense, and that percentage may go up with the Bucks playing at a more comfortable offensive rhythm.

And the Phoenix Suns figure to be very accommodating! The Suns are coming off of a low scoring 92-81 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, but that final was mainly due to Memphis’s plodding style. The fact is that Phoenix is one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, ranking 25th in points against at 100.4 per game and second to last on the entire league in field goal percentage allowed at 47.2 percent.

Furthermore, the Phoenix defense has been downright atrocious on the road allowing 106.6 points per game, helping to explain Phoenix’s 2-14 road record and nine-game road losing streak.

Now granted the Suns rank 16th in scoring at 96.3 points per game and have reached 100 points just once in the last nine games, but they could easily get caught up in a run-and-gun pace here as used to be the norm when Steve Nash was in Phoenix, and besides, the Bucks could get to 110 points fairly easily in this contest if they play their desired pace against  this defense.

Thus, the Suns may not even need to do too much to push this contest ‘over’ the 199 total on Tuesday.


NBA Pick: Suns, Bucks ‘over’ 199 (-103)
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