- THE MATCHUP: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans
- WHEN IS IT: Tuesday, February 4, 7:35 PM ET
- THE LOCATION: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
- TELEVISION: TNT
So much time separates the losses of the Milwaukee Bucks (42-7), to the point where a Bucks defeat is a rarity.
For example, Milwaukee would take a loss this season and would follow it up with a five-game winning streak, while having another winning streak that totaled nine. And then you had this mammoth of a winning streak in 18 straight victories after a early season loss.
On Tuesday night, the Bucks take on the New Orleans Pelicans (20-30), and they’ll be looking to take advantage of the opportunity to start building another winning streak.
Statistical Comparison: Milwaukee Bucks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
- Milwaukee Bucks: 120.0 PPG
- New Orleans Pelicans: 115.1 PPG
Field Goal Percentage
- Milwaukee Bucks: 48.4 FG%
- New Orleans Pelicans: 45.8 FG%
- Milwaukee Bucks: 26.3 APG
- New Orleans Pelicans: 25.7 APG
- Milwaukee Bucks: 107.6 PA
- New Orleans Pelicans: 117.1 PA
- Milwaukee Bucks: 6.4 BLK
- New Orleans Pelicans: 5.3 BLK
- Milwaukee Bucks: 7.5 STL
- New Orleans Pelicans: 7.3 STL
- Milwaukee Bucks: 51.7 RPG
- New Orleans Pelicans: 46.4 RPG
- Milwaukee Bucks: W1
- New Orleans Pelicans: L1
Last 10 Games
- Milwaukee Bucks: 9-1
- New Orleans Pelicans: 6-4
Last Five Games
- Milwaukee Bucks: vs. Phoenix Suns (W 129-108), vs. Denver Nuggets (L 127-115), vs. Washington Wizards (W 151-131), vs. Charlotte Hornets (W 116-103), vs. Chicago Bulls (W 119-98)
- New Orleans Pelicans: at Houston Rockets (L 117-109), vs. Memphis Grizzlies (W 139-111), at Cleveland Cavaliers (W 125-111), vs. Boston Celtics (W 123-108), vs. Denver Nuggets (L 113-106)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks): 30.0 PPG, 55.1 FG%, 60.6 FT%
- Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans): 24.9 PPG, 46.9 FG%, 86.1 FT%
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks): 13.1 RPG, 10.7 DRPG, 2.5 ORPG
- Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans): 6.4 RPG, 5.6 DRPG, 0.9 ORPG
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks): 5.8 APG, 3.6 TOPG, 30.7 MPG
- Lonzo Ball (New Orleans Pelicans): 6.7 APG, 2.9 TOPG, 31.5 MPG
Milwaukee would take a loss on Friday to the Denver Nuggets, 127-115, and not only would it be a loss, but they would suffer defeat at home. However, the Bucks would respond with a win on Sunday against the Phoenix Suns, 129-108, to close out their three-game homestand.
“A good response,” said Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. “Not our best, but a steady, good response.”
The ability to respond well to losses and go on stretches of consecutive games is part of the reason why the Bucks have accomplished a 42-7 record, the best in the entire National Basketball Association. Throughout the entire season, they haven’t lost consecutive contests.
Taking on Phoenix, Milwaukee’s star Giannis Antetokounmpo had an incredible stat line and near triple-double of 30 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists in 31 minutes of action. He would say that the Bucks have focused on more consistent play in each quarter of play.
“Last year at the end of each quarter we would start giving up easy points, giving up 3s,” Anteotokounmpo said. “But this year we try to be more focused. We try to close quarters a little bit better and that helps.
“You’re not going to win every quarter, but when you win four quarters or three out of four, you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Also against Phoenix, Brook Lopez would contribute 17 points, as well as nine blocks — a career-high.
“It was just a team effort,” stated Lopez. “I think Phoenix got some easy ones early in the game. We definitely tightened up. Our goal is to be the No. 1 defensive team again.”
Back on December 11 in a 127-112 home win against the New Orleans Pelicans, Antetokounmpo wouldn’t be in action due to a sore quad tendon.
But it wouldn’t just be Milwaukee’s star who was out of action, the Pelicans would also be missing their star rookie in Zion Williamson. He would be out because of knee surgery that would take place back in the preseason, and he would just recently return six games ago. With Williamson in the rotation, New Orleans has scored a .500 3-3 record. In their last game on Sunday, they would take a 117-109 loss to the Rockets in Houston.
- Pat Connaughton: Probable (Right Ankle Soreness)
- George Hill: Out (Hamstring)
New Orleans Pelicans
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker: Doubtful (Illness)
- Kenrich Williams: Out (Back)
Against the Rockets, the Pelicans would tally a double-digit 10 turnovers in the first quarter, which is the highest that they’ve committed all season long in any quarter. When the game was over, they would finish with a total of 21 turnovers.
“Turnovers were definitely a big part of it,” Williamson said. “I don’t think they caused us to make those turnovers. I think it was self-inflicted turnovers. We had 10 in the first quarter and you can’t start the game like that.”
Williamson would secure a double-double with numbers of 21 points and 10 rebounds against Houston, making him just the third player in the NBA to have two 20-point 10-rebound performances in their first six career games since 2012. The other two: Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, who used to be apart of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton.
However, despite the great results from Williamson, he would have just two shots in the last remaining 11 minutes of the game. With this being the case, New Orleans would end up being outscored in the fourth quarter, 25-16.
“Zion can’t go four minutes without touching the basketball and that’s on me,” New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry commented. “That’s something I’ve got to make sure that will never happen again. I take responsibility for that and if we’re not going to get it to him and we’re not going to execute — we’ve got to have different people in the game, and that’s on me also.”
So, Who’s Going to Win?
The Milwaukee Bucks have Giannis Anteotokounmpo. The New Orleans Pelicans have Zion Williamson. And what those two do for their teams is provide them a very potent offense. As a result, you can expect a contest full of entertainment in a battle of fiery offensive attacks competing against one another.
On the defensive side of the ball, however, the two are quite separated with the Bucks having the a lock-down defense, while the Pelicans have had their struggles in protecting their net. And it’s not even that they’ve struggled either, it’s the fact that they consistently get lit up by their opposition, and there’s no clear way to tell if they’ll be able to get that fixed up this season. It’s going to be one hell of a challenge for them, because New Orleans has found it hard to make stops all season long.
With the state of the Pelicans’ defense, they don’t have the resources to be able to limit the Bucks and their potency on offense. That’s the major difference in the game: Defense. Milwaukee has potency and can stop their opposition, while New Orleans has potency, but can’t seem to stop other team’s potency — that’s what tonight all comes down to.
Not only do the Milwaukee Bucks get the victory in this game, but they also achieve the season series sweep with the W. Bucks win, cover the spread and hit the under.
BETTING PREDICTION: Milwaukee Bucks 123, New Orleans Pelicans 113