The New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks are scheduled to dance at the Fiserv Forum on Thursday night. It should be a fun one between two offenses that like to get up and down the floor. This shouldn’t look like a Laker game this evening. Speaking of the Lakers, they threw up another dud without Anthony Davis last night against the Utah Jazz.
The offense was stuck in mud, and it looked like they were just hoping for the best and chucking up bad shots without AD in the lineup. We were on the UNDER in that contest, so the struggling offense was nice to see. Contrary to what some people perceive, the Lakers have been a big UNDER team this season. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of that trend last night.
The Bucks thought that this was going to be the year that they finally got over their demons and got to the NBA Finals. While there’s still a solid chance of that happening, their mountain to climb got a whole lot bigger after the Brooklyn Nets acquired James Harden. The worst sign for the Bucks, and the rest of the Eastern Conference is that the Nets are beginning to figure it out defensively. With the Nets’ firepower, all they need is an average defense to carry them far.
Milwaukee welcomes the Pelicans to Wisconsin with a record of 19-13. They are two games behind the 76ers for the lead in the Eastern Conference. The winner of the East is likely one of those three teams. It’s hard to ignore the 76ers who have been in good form this season as well. The Bucks are fresh off a 139-112 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 23.
It was their third straight win, which also includes a 98-85 win over the Thunder, Kings, 128-115, and then the recent victory on Tuesday against the Timberwolves. That is not the most impressive lineup of teams. They’re all inferior opponents, but it’s important to pick up wins against teams like that. The Pelicans qualify as another beatable challenger for the Bucks.
Improvements have been noted for the Pelicans, but they’re still not in a position to compete with the big boys. The Pels bounced the Detroit Pistons by a score of 128-118 in their most recent outing on Wednesday night. They’re in a tough spot on a back-to-back, but they can’t complain about having old legs. This is a young team looking towards a bright future in New Orleans. Head below for our free Pelicans vs. Bucks pick on February 25, 2021.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Milwaukee Bucks NBA Betting Odds:
Pelicans vs. Bucks Prediction:
The Bucks have been running through defenses recently without too much resistance. This has generally been the case during the entire season, but they’ve kicked it up a few notches as of late. This is how they need to play if they’re going to beat the Brooklyn Nets. Not going full bore offensively against the Nets is going to result in losses. The Bucks have scored at least 128 points in their last two games in a 128-115 win over the Kings and 139-112 over the Timberwolves.
You might want to point out that the Kings and Timberwolves both have bad defenses. That’s correct, but so do the Pelicans who have been regressing hard defensively. They started off nicely, as Stan Van Gundy’s defensive philosophy was rubbing off the right way. The Pelicans have completely abandoned the defense and are just looking to go fast and score. If anything, it’s resulted in some entertaining games when the Pelicans are playing.
Having said that, if they want to be a competitive playoff team, lapses that they continually commit defensively must be fixed in the offseason to take the next level. That tends to happen to young teams in the NBA. The Bucks are second in the league with 119.8 points scored per game. They’ve recorded just over 120 points per game at home in Milwaukee in the 2020-21 campaign. Note that the Bucks have recorded at least 120 points against the Pels in five of their previous six performances.
Offense is what New Orleans does best with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Williamson is developing into a franchise player and has taken a big step forward. He has averaged 25.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Ingram has contributed 24 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. They’ve both helped lead the Pelicans to 115.2 points per game for seventh in the NBA. The Pels are fifth in the league with a 48.3% field goal percentage. Eight of the last nine meetings between the Pelicans and Bucks have cleared the OVER. A final score of 132-124 is where I’m looking here.