Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#567 Milwaukee Bucks vs.
#568 Dallas Mavericks
Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 9:05pm EDT
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of division leaders take the floor in an interconference matchup on the hardwood down in the Lone Star State. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the road as they make the trip to face the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night. Milwaukee was edged 122-121 on the road by the Warriors Tuesday night in their previous contest. Dallas upended Utah 111-103 at home on Monday night: they were in action on the road Wednesday against the Rockets and were beaten 102-93. In the all-time regular-season series between the teams, the Bucks own a 42-36 advantage, including a 112-109 home victory in the first meeting this season back on January 15. That snapped Dallas’ two-game win streak in the series.

Milwaukee Bucks Looking to Bounce Back

Milwaukee had their three-game win streak snapped as they were knocked off on the road by the Warriors in their previous contest. The Bucks entered Wednesday leading the Central Division by 9.5 games over the Pacers. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stood third, 2.5 games behind the 76ers and Nets for the top spot in the standings. Against Golden State, Milwaukee trailed by as many as 13 early in the contest before cutting the deficit to two after one quarter. The deficit was three at the half though the Bucks rallied to lead by five after three quarters. Milwaukee led by 10 with four minutes to play before getting outscored 16-5 down the stretch, giving up the winning free throws with 7.7 seconds to play. The Bucks shot 51.2% from the field, including 14 of 32 from three-point range, but turned the ball over 14 times. Jrue Holiday led Milwaukee with 29 points and five assists in the loss.

The Bucks are 1st in the league in scoring offense with 119.3 points per game on the season. Milwaukee is second in rebounding by pulling down 47.9 boards per contest while the team is 12th by dishing out 25.7 assists per game. The Bucks are 19th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 113 points per contest this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading Milwaukee with 28.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists per contest this season. Khris Middleton chips in 20.4 points plus 5.9 rebounds along with 5.5 assists a night while Jrue Holiday contributes 17.3 points a contest. Donte DiVincenzo (10.5 points) and Bobby Portis (11.1 points, 6.9 boards) are good secondary scoring options. Jordan Nwora, P.J. Tucker, Brook Lopez (11.3 points), Bryn Forbes (9.3 points) and Pat Connaughton are solid pieces in the mix as well. Milwaukee is fourth in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 48.8% as a team this season. The Bucks are fourth in threes per game by draining 14.6 triples per contest and stand 3rd in three-point shooting by hitting a blistering 39.3% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Antetokounmpo (knee) and Tucker (calf) both missed Tuesday’s game and their status for this one remain unclear so keep an eye out for an update.

Dallas Mavericks Seek to Stay Hot

Dallas took advantage of a Utah team playing their third game in four nights and took down the league-leading Jazz for their fifth straight win their last time out. The Mavericks entered Wednesday leading the Southwest Division by 2.5 games over the Grizzlies. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team stood seventh, 9.5 games behind the Jazz for the top spot, 1.5 games behind the Trail Blazers for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot and 6.5 games ahead of the 11th-place Pelicans to remain in the playoff picture. Dallas is 3-6 in the second game of back-to-back situations as they average 107.2 points per game while allowing 114.3 points per contest in those games. The Mavericks are 12-10 at home with a -1.3 ppg scoring differential (109.9 ppg for, 112.2 ppg against) in those outings. Dallas is 12-7 against Eastern Conference teams with a +1.1 ppg scoring margin (107.9 ppg for, 106.8 ppg against) this season.

The Mavericks enter this contest 19th in the league in scoring offense with 111.8 points per game on the season. Dallas stands 20th in rebounding with 43.4 boards per game while they rank 27th in assists by dishing out 22.5 dimes per contest. The Mavericks are 8th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 109.7 points per game on the year. Luka Doncic leads the team with 28.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.8 assists per contest this season. Kristaps Porzingis contributes 20.2 points plus 8.9 rebounds per game while Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.5 points) is also a solid contributor on the offensive end. Maxi Kleber, Jalen Brunson (13 points), Trey Burke, Dorian Finney-Smith, JJ Redick, Josh Richardson (12.7 points), James Johnson, Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein are key pieces in the Mavericks’ rotation. Dallas is 11th in field goal percentage as they shoot 47% as a team from beyond the arc. The Mavericks are 8th by knocking down 13.8 three-pointers per contest on the year. Dallas stands 16th in three-point shooting as they hit 36.4% from beyond the arc this season.

Cauley-Stein has been out due to health and safety protocols while Redick is recovering from heel surgery. Porzingis (wrist), Burke (calf) and Kleber (leg) were all questionable Wednesday so keep an eye on their status here.

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Both teams are juggling with potential missing pieces in this contest, which is going to be something that will need to be monitored right up until tip-off. Dallas is playing the second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights here, which is going to take a toll on them. Meanwhile, the Bucks are dealing with potentially missing Antetokounmpo again for this contest but they do have a day of rest in their pocket. Dallas has struggled mightily in the second game of back-to-back situations this season and they don’t do a ton offensively on their home floor. Give the advantage to the Bucks in this one as they come up with the victory.

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks +1

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Milwaukee loves to run as they are third in the league with 101.9 possessions a game this season. The Bucks are the highest-scoring team in the league coming into this one and can pile up the points on any given night. Dallas is 24th in pace with 97.4 possessions a game. The Mavericks have taken major strides defensively but they face a stiff challenge on that end of the floor in this contest. Meanwhile, Dallas is still a middle-of-the-pack attack offensively despite a solid rotation. The first meeting this season saw the teams combine for 221 points. With the Mavericks playing their third game in four nights and both teams banged up, you have to lean toward this one being a slower-paced contest that falls short of the mark.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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