Following a slow 2-2 start to the season, Milwaukee has suddenly riled off four consecutive wins to enter with the best record in the Central Division standings at 6-2 through eight games. The Bucks are on the third game of a four-game Western Conference road swing that will conclude in Oklahoma City on Sunday and will embark on another three-game road trip after a brief return home for a matchup versus the Chicago Bulls next week. Milwaukee is 5-1 away from home already this season. Can the Bucks keep up their success on the road against the Jazz in Utah on Friday night?
Bledsoe makes unthinkable gaffe in win vs. ClippersMilwaukee edged the Los Angeles Clippers 129-124 at the Staples Center on Wednesday night. The Clippers opted to rest Kawhi Leonard in a clash between potential MVP candidates and Giannis Antetokounmpo took advantage, as he exploded for 38 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists to go along with two steals and two blocks on the night. George Hill came off the bench to add 24 while Eric Bledsoe chipped in 20 for the Bucks, who enjoyed a 47-20 advantage in bench scoring on the night.
Speaking of Bledsoe, the Bucks’ guard committed a head-scratching gaffe on Wednesday night. After being handed the ball in a side out-of-bounds play, Bledsoe inexplicably dribbled the ball up the floor instead of passing it, which immediately resulted in a turnover. NBA Twitter wasn’t too forgiving either.
In what has become the load-management era for superstars across the NBA, Antetokounmpo is taking a different approach. The Bucks’ star wants to play every night but head coach Mike Budenholzer been able to keep his MVP fresh by limiting his minutes throughout the season. With Budenholzer at the helm, Antetokounmpo is averaging the second-fewest minutes since his rookie year and the Bucks don’t have a player in the top-50 in minutes played this season.
The Bucks enter the weekend leading the NBA in offensive rating at 112.3 and they rank eighth in the league on the defensive end of the floor with a 102.9 rating. Their +9.4 net rating is also tops in the league, nearly a half-point better than the second-place L.A. Lakers.
Jazz edge 76ers to snap two-game slideThe Jazz snapped a two-game slide with a narrow 106-104 victory at home versus the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. Donovan Mitchell finished with 24 points and eight assists while Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 for the Jazz, who improved to 4-0 at home with the win.
Bogdanovic has been a pleasant surprise for the Jazz this season. Not only has he exceeded expectations early on but his emergence has moved Joe Ingles to the bench, strengthening Utah’s second unit as well. Consistent, reliable, and clutch, Bogdanovic has been everything the Jazz have needed and more this season. He comes in scoring more than 20 points per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from beyond the arc, and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.
bojan bogdanovic is exactly what the jazz needed pic.twitter.com/uuRRBiVrjX— Taylor Griffin (@griffdunk) November 7, 2019
Utah, which ranks second in the league in defensive efficiency, was pleased with their defensive effort versus the 76ers but they will face a tough task versus the NBA’s No.1 offense on Friday. The Jazz come into the weekend allowing only 98.3 points per 100 possessions (2nd in the NBA) but they’ve struggled at times offensively, sporting an offensive rating of only 102.2, which ranks 26th in the NBA. Despite having one of the NBA’s top rebounders in Rudy Gobert, second-chance opportunities have been nearly non-existent for the Jazz this season. Utah ranks 28th in the league with an offensive rebounding rate of only 23 percent.
- Bucks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Bucks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game.
- Bucks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600