Bucks vs. Warriors Free Pick 03/18/17 – NBA Predictions
By Will Rogers
The Bucks were supposed to collapse after Jabari Parker was lost for the season but the opposite has been true. Milwaukee has won eight of its last nine games with Friday’s 107-103 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, evening its record at 34-34and giving the Bucks the current No. 7 seed in the East. The Warriors lost K.D. for at least four weeks back on Feb. 28th and coupled with some long-distance shooting woes, lost five of seven from Feb. 28 through Mar 11. However, back-to-back wins have Golden State at 54-14, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Spurs in a race for the West’s No. 1 seed (also, the NBA’s overall No. 1 seed, as well).
Parker (20.1 & 6.1) was lost for the year in a Feb. 8 loss to the Heat but the Bucks were able to “hang in there,” going 4-4 over the next eight games. Then, the Bucks ‘stepped on the gas pedal,’ and have gone 8-1 SU & 7-2 ATS over their last nine. The return of SG Khris Middleton (led Milwaukee in scoring last year at 18.2 PPG) from a hamstring injury has been a huge factor in Milwaukee’s recent surge. He scored a season-best 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting in the victory over the Lakers last night and has scored in double digits in 10 straight games, averaging 18.4 points in March (15.2 PPG in his 16 games back). Of course, “the Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo, is Milwaukee’s “go-to” guy night in and night out, leading the team in scoring (23.1), rebounding (8.5) and assists (5.4).
The Warriors finally displayed signs of breaking out of their funk with Thursday’s 122-92 romp over the Orlando Magic but then again, it was only the Magic. After all, the Warriors had to come back from 16 points against the 76ers the previous game, to win by two! Klay Thompson (22.1) has scored 25 or more points in each of the past four games and 21 of his 29 points against Orlando came in the opening quarter. However, while Curry (25.0-4.5-6.3) has had 29 and 25 points in the back-to-back wins, he shot just 7 of 20 from three in those games and is only 25 of 96 (26.0%) from three-point range over his last nine games.
Milwaukee is in a tough spot here, traveling up the California coast from LA to Oakland, off a hard-fought game which also included a third-quarter fracas which ended with three ejections. The Warriors won 124-121 earlier this year but Giannis Antetokounmpo won his in-game battle with Green, in a matchup of two of the NBA’s most versatile players. He outscored him 30-10, outrebounded him 4-2 and out-assisted him 6-5. Something tells me Green will be “up” for the rematch. Lay the points with Golden St.