The Golden State Warriors are 10-1 overall and have won eight games in a row heading into a home date with the Milwaukee Bucks at Oracle Arena on Thursday night. Golden State has stated its current five-game home-stand with victories over New Orleans, Minnesota, and Memphis. The Bucks began a four-game road trip with a setback at Portland on Tuesday.
The Bucks appear to building something special behind star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and first-year head coach Mike Budenholzer. Just how special? Well, they have a chance to make a real early-season statement at Golden State on Thursday. It is already quite clear that Milwaukee is–and will be–one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Budenholzer’s bunch won its first seven games before dropping two of its last three, including a 118-103 loss at Portland to begin this four-game trek.
“I didn’t think we came out with the greatest attention to the three-ball, attention to them coming off screening situations,” Budenholzer commented. “So that put us in a little bit of a hole.”
Antetokounmpo, unsurprisingly the force behind his team’s hot start, is averaging 25.8 points per game on 54.4 percent shooting to go along with 13.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest. Milwaukee earned a 116-107 win at Golden State last season, as Antetokounmpo scored 32 points in a game that Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry missed due to injury.
“He’s just very unique and I think he owns his game,” Curry said of the Greek Freak. “He understands how he can be impactful every night. He obviously plays extremely hard every night. Some of the stuff he does, your jaw drops. The way he can cover ground in a few strides, the way he can finish in the paint and all those types of things, it’s pretty special.”
Lots of splashing, lots of wins
As good as the Bucks look right now, they aren’t the Warriors. And what the Warriors are, of course, is quite simply the best team in the NBA. Any lack of attention to detail on the three-ball–which Budenholzer noted following Milwaukee’s setback at Portland–and in screening situations can doom opponents, because Golden State leads the NBA in team three-point percentage at .423. That is hardly a surprise, as head coach Steve Kerr’s crew features three of the best shooters on the planet in Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant–all of whom can operate off the screen. The Warriors went 13-of-24 from beyond the arc while cruising to a 117-101 victory over Memphis on Monday.
A surge of energy in the second half helped the Dubs seize control of tonight's matchup to extend their win streak to 8 games. Get the complete recap here 📝 https://t.co/bYHfl2sXJR
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 6, 2018
Curry leads the NBA in scoring at an average of 31.3 ppg while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor, 50.8 percent from deep, and 92.3 percent from the free-throw line. Durant is right behind at a 27.7 ppg clip on 56.5 percent shooting. Golden State, however, will be without all-star Draymond Green; he is sidelined by a sprained big toe suffered in Monday’s win over the Grizzlies. The Warriors also expect to be without guard Shaun Livingston (foot), who will miss his sixth straight game.
“It’s just day-to-day,” head coach Steve Kerr said of Green. “No concern long term. So, we’ll just monitor it each day, and we’re so early in the season, obviously we’ll be cautious. We’ll see how it plays out.”
The Golden State Warriors are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last four overall
- 5-0 ATS in their last five home games
- 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against the Eastern Conference
The Milwaukee Bucks are:
- 1-8 ATS in their last nine road games
- 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games against teams with winning home records
- 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games against teams with winning percentages over .600
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Antetokounmpo will not only have to play at an MVP level if the Bucks want to have a chance on Thursday, but he will also have to be disciplined. He is second in the NBA in turnovers at an average of 5.0 per game. The Warriors are in the midst of an eight-game winning streak and they have been beating opponents consistently by double-digits. Milwaukee is tough, but getting the Bucks during an extended road trip is getting them at the right time.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors
Full-Game Total Pick
Milwaukee center Brook Lopez scored a season-high 22 points while going 6-of-10 from three-point range on Tuesday. Green’s absence will hurt Golden State on defense, but the home team’s offense is–of course–likely to be on fire once again. The over is 27-7 in the Bucks’ last 34 overall, 14-4 in their last 18 on the road, 7-3 in their last 10 against the Western Conference, and 10-3 in their last 13 against opponents with winning percentages over .600. It is also 5-2 in the Warriors’ last seven overall, 4-0 in their last four against the Eastern Conference, and 5-2 in their last seven following a win. Look for this one to go over the total.