In the Milwaukee Bucks' way towards the playoff they meet the best team in the NBA in the Golden State Warriors, whom are favored in NBA odds by 5.5 points.
The Warriors Winning on Both Ends
NBA odds makers have come out and made the Warriors a solid -5 favorite against a Bucks team still finding its way after a major trade. The total for this game is 199 and I like the under in this spot a lot. When most people think of Golden State they think about the fire power they have with Curry and Thompson and their deadly three point shooting. What NBA people know is that they are getting it done on the defensive end, and that has been the major difference maker for them this year. On the year they lead the league in opponent field goal shooting at 42.4% and ranked 7th in opponent shooting from beyond the arc at 34% on the year. They do like to push the pace which is demonstrated in their overall scoring defense which is about 98 points per game and ranked in the middle of the field. Impressively they are ranked 6th in defensive turnovers and assists allowed. Their defensive assist to turnover ratio is ranked number one in the league. Steve Kerr has preached to this team all year to work like crazy on defense and the team has listened, they simply are a tough defensive first minded team.
Milwaukee on Both Ends
One of the most surprising teams this year has been the Milwaukee Bucks. Recently they have started to turn things around after trading away Knight, (I have mentioned how much I disliked that trade). Like Golden State they are a defensive team first and foremost. They are ranked third in the league in opponent assist to turnover ratio, and third in opponent field goal shooting at 43.5%. Those are overall though and the team has gone through some changes this year in personnel. Recently they have started to push the ball a bit more, but ultimately I think Kidd is well aware to beat a team like Golden State the Bucks will have to focus on controlling the ball, limiting turnovers, and playing world class defense. Recently Milwaukee has controlled the tempo somewhat, in their last three games they are ranked fourth in the league in opponent shots attempted. They are also ranked third in the league in their own shots attempted in that same time frame at 76.7. The anomaly has been that the Bucks, although playing far from Mach 1, have actually put up some good number despite the pace. In the last three games they are shooting the ball at 49% from the field, well above their 45.8% for the year. I don’t anticipate them to keep this percentage up against the league’s leading defense.
Since the break Milwaukee is averaging around 94 points a game. I just don’t think they have the personnel to get up and down the floor with the Warriors. If the Bucks are going to have any chance to slow them down they will have to continue their controlling of pace on both ends of the floor. With the Warriors coming off a back to back I think they are capable of doing this. The last time these teams met the total went for 195, but the Warriors missed 11 free throws and Milwaukee, although they attempted more shots, only shot 42%. Golden State shot over 50% from the field that game, but I think the Bucks will be a little bit stingier as far as points go in this contest. My NBA pick is on the under today.
NBA Picks: Milwaukee/Golden State Under 199.5 at Pinnacle