Streaking Spurs Host Bucks, Possibly Bledsoe Friday Night

San Antonio Spurs

Jay Pryce

Friday, November 10, 2017 12:51 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 12:51 PM GMT

The Spurs, winners of three straight, host the new-look Bucks as 4.5-point chalk at AT&T Center Friday night (9 p.m. ET). Point guard Eric Bledsoe could make his Milwaukee debut alongside NBA points leader Giannis Antetokounmpo. The duo still might not offer enough firepower to top San Antonio’s streak.

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Milwaukee Bucks vs San Antonio SpursFree NBA Pick: Spurs -4.5Best Line Offered: at BetDSI

 

Bledsoe To Debut, Bucks Blast the Boards

The Bucks front office traded center Greg Monroe and a pair of protected draft picks to the Suns on Tuesday for point guard Eric Bledsoe. The speedy playmaker will offer another scoring threat to a Bucks offense already earning 109 points per 100 possessions. As of Thursday afternoon, the team has not revealed if Bledsoe will make his debut at the Spurs, or on Saturday hosting the Lakers.

Bledsoe, a combo-option, provides new opportunities in the backcourt for head coach Jason Kidd, which has seen reigning rookie of the year Macolm Brogdon shouldering the load at the point with 33.6 minutes per game (16.2 points, 4.9 assists). If Kidd decides to play them together, Giannis Antetokounmpo can easily slot in at center for a faster, dynamic lineup. More than anything, an extra starter will provide added rest time for Antetokounmpo (37.2) and forward Khris Middleton (36.9), the pair ranking third and fifth in the league in minutes.

Milwaukee gave the Spurs plenty of problems in last year’s two meetings. Antetokounmpo scored 22 points and yanked down 11 boards in a narrow 97-96 defeat as 5-point underdogs at BMO Harris Bradley Center in December. The “Greek Freak” played only 9 minutes in the follow-up contest at AT&T Center in January after falling ill with a fever the day before. The Bucks did A-OK without their superstar, winning 109-107 as 9.5-point pups on the NBA odds board, despite a 30-point effort out of Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard. The difference-maker in the matchups was Milwaukee’s ability to generate second-chance points. It pulled down 3.5 more offensive rebounds per game than San Antonio.

 

No Leonard, No Problem

The Spurs are trending in the right direction after a 120-107 win over the Clippers Tuesday made it three in a row. Three players posted 20 points or more in the victory, as life without MVP candidate Leonard goes on: LaMarcus Aldridge (25), Danny Green (24) and Ruday Gay (22). Head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters following the victory Leonard’s rehab is going slower than the team envisioned. Nevertheless, Popovich’s adjustments are coming into stride following a 4-game skid in which it failed score more than 94 points in any game.

Since the start of last season, the Spurs are 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS as home favorites with Leonard out of the lineup. They have played well on both sides of the ball, but surprising the market more offensively. San Antonio averages 110.9 points in this spot, going over their team total in all but one contest. Popovich’s always-stingy defense is holding opponents to 97.8 points per game, just three eclipsing the century mark.

 

Pick

There are no surprises when the Bucks hit the court: feed Antetokounmpo the rock and let him drive to the hoop. The next-level star leads the NBA with 31.9 points per game and has attempted more shots at the rim than any player in the league (76.9 percent success). This could spell trouble for the Spurs. San Antonio’s 43.1 points allowed in the paint per game are the most through its first 12 since at least the 2000 season. Still, the attack is one-sided and Popovich will conjure up the perfect game plan to settle the score. Look for the Spurs to throw everything at Antetokounmpo and force the visitors to play up to the Spurs’ strengths. Lay the points (-4.5) behind the Spurs. In Popovich we trust. 

 
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