The Milwaukee Bucks remain in Los Angeles after faltering against the Clippers on Monday night. That was not a pretty performance from the Bucks, as they were bullied around in a 129-105 loss. Giannis and Jrue Holiday had good games, but nobody else bothered to contribute for the Bucks. With 32 points, Giannis led all scorers in the game. Holiday was effective for the Bucks, as he scored 24 points and recorded 7 assists in the loss. The difference in that one was the Clippers got production from across their roster.
There were four players with at least 20 points for the Clippers. Conversely, only Giannis and Holiday were effective for the Bucks. Despite the lousy effort against the Clippers, the Bucks are still in a good spot with a record of 29-17. Good but not great, as the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are ahead on the Bucks by 2.5 games. The Eastern Conference is a three-team race between those teams. No one else is within reach, with the fourth-place team, the Charlotte Hornets, 7.5 games behind the Sixers and Nets.
The Bucks have been unable to reach the NBA Finals in the Giannis’ era. They’ve not only been favorites to win the East, but have already been favorites to win the championship. However, the Bucks have not been able to live up to expectations thus far. It’s only getting tougher in the East with the Nets stockpiling talent and gearing up for a deep playoff push. That happens on the court and not on paper, though, so the Nets can’t go reading their own press clippings.
The Lakers survived against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. They did barely enough to edge out the Magic for a 96-93 win. The offense without Lebron James and Anthony Davis has looked dreadful, but the defense has been carrying on and playing well. Not as strong as with Lebron and AD, naturally, though all things considered the defense has been hanging in there. The Lakers are on a two-game winning streak with wins over the Cavaliers, 100-86, and the Magic win. However, prior to those wins against losing squads, the Lakers were on a four-game skid. Head below for our free Bucks vs. Lakers pick on March 31, 2021.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers NBA Betting Odds:
Bucks vs. Lakers Prediction:
The Lakers can do one thing right now without Lebron and AD active. They’re capable of playing well enough defensively to stay around in games. However, that might not be the case against better offenses in the NBA. The Lakers held the Cavaliers to 86 points and the Magic to 83 points in their previous two outings. The Magic and Cavaliers rank towards the back of the league in offense.
Orlando sent their three best players to other teams at the trade deadline, so the Lakers were dealing with something resembling a team between an NBA and G League roster. In any event, we can’t take away the fact that the Lakers are second in the NBA with 106 points conceded per game. In their last five outings, they’ve allowed 105.4 points per game.
While their defense might be able to bother the Bucks for a quarter or two, it’s hard to see how the Lakers are going to do their part offensively to make this a competitive basketball game. The offense has looked downright horrible at times without a healthy unit on the floor. Through their last five contests, the Lakers have managed to score just 100.4 points per game.
The Lakers like to go slow and take their chances with their defense, but against the Bucks, I see them needing some offensive pop. It’s hard to see where it’s going to come from, though. Giannis is going to be a load to handle in the paint for the Lakers without AD. Milwaukee is second in the NBA with an average of 119 points scored per game.
They are shooting an efficient 48.5% from the field, along with 39.2% from three for third in the league. Through their last five outings, the Bucks have notched 115.2 points per game. The Bucks can be susceptible defensively, but to exploit them, that would require an offense that can shoot, which the Lakers can’t do with this current lineup. Look for the Bucks to pull away for a 114-103 win or thereabout at the Staples Center.