The NBA’s top two teams square off on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams come in leading their respective conferences with identical 24-4 records.
Both teams saw their long winning streaks come to an end in their last outings, and now one of them will end up with a two-game losing streak.
Los Angeles has battled through injuries to Kyle Kuzma and Avery Bradley this season, continuing to pick up win after win. LeBron James is as fresh as ever and proving all of the naysayers who came out last year wrong. He and Anthony Davis have proven to be quite the duo.
Milwaukee has also dealt with an injury to Khris Middleton this year but didn’t lose any of the games it played in his two weeks away. Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken his game to an even higher level since winning MVP last year, averaging better than a made three per contest in 2019-20.
The Bucks are the deepest team in the East, with several options at most positions with regard to who gets minutes. And even with All-Defense selection Eric Bledsoe out, Milwaukee shouldn’t skip too much of a beat, as it has options to plug in in his place.
The spread for Thursday night’s game favors Milwaukee by four points, with the over/under set at 225.
Lakers Try To Avoid Skid
The Lakers rank eighth in points scored and second in points allowed. While it is unclear how much credit should go to coach Frank Vogel, he is doing a great job under a lot of pressure. The Lakers are on national television often and have big expectations each game to put on a show. Jason Kidd was supposedly installed as associate head coach against his will, but it has all been okay so far.
The West is a crowded conference at the top, and the Lakers have had fun battles with some of the league’s best. All of their offseason moves have paid off, most notably bringing back Dwight Howard, who is playing some great ball off the bench as he’s finally been able to stay healthy.
James and Davis are as tough as any duo in the league and will look to continue to showcase that in this one. Rajon Rondo has also looked really good this season.
Bucks Try To Get Back On Track
Antetokounmpo is averaging 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while also making his case for Defensive Player of the Year. Middleton is continuing to play well, averaging 18 points, five rebounds and four assists a night.
Brook Lopez is not doing much in the realm of stats but is protecting the rim with two blocks per game, while also making threes from 35 feet like he has been doing it his whole life and not just for a few years. The Bucks score more points than any other team in the NBA and will hope to keep this going for another game.
Defense will be the key in this matchup, with all of Milwaukee’s top guys taking on tough assignments. Let’s see how they handle it.
Lakers Win A Close One
The Lakers lost to Malcolm Brogdon’s current team, the Pacers, on Tuesday night but won’t lose to his old one. The Lakers will win.
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