San Antonio Spurs (43-30) at Milwaukee Bucks (38-34)
We stayed hot and picked up another win last night. This one felt like free money to me. We backed the Houston Rockets at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. Even knowing that Chris Paul was likely not to play I still loved the Rockets to win and win big.
I laid -8-points which is at the high end of what I am willing to lay, and the number was never in doubt. The Rockets absolutely mauled the Pelicans and had a twenty-seven-point lead at halftime.
This is the NBA, and every team is going to make a run. But as I suspected, the Pelicans just didn’t have their legs in their shots and looked tired all afternoon. The Pelicans were forced to play back to back to back games, and after showing a lot of grit to come from behind and win all three of those games, they got rewarded by having to play the best team in the NBA, on the road no less.
The scheduler punished the Pelicans, and we picked up on the free money. Today we will look at the matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The San Antonio Spurs will travel to Milwaukee Sunday to face the Bucks in a game that both teams really want to win.
The Spurs have seemingly saved their season with a recent six-game winning streak. San Antonio was at risk of missing the playoffs for the first time in twenty years. They aren’t out of the weeds just yet though as they hold just a three-game lead over the nine seed Denver Nuggets.
For the Bucks, they are currently slated to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference as the eight seed, but are desperately hoping to move up a slot or two before the regular season closes out.
The Spurs are -2.5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 205 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 PM PST from the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The San Antonio Spurs are playing inspired basketball at the moment. Before this winning streak started, the Spurs were in free fall. They had won just three out of their last fourteen games and were sliding out of playoff contention. But Greg Popovich is Greg Popovich, and he has rallied the troops, and they are now looking fairly safe to make the playoffs once again this year.
The Spurs made headlines this week when the team held a player’s only meeting to basically try and shame Kawhi Leonard into coming back and playing before he is fully healthy. The Spurs have been teasing the return of their best player for weeks, but I had a strong feeling he was never coming back this year.
Pop is too smart to rush back his best player just to try and sneak into the playoffs as a high seed when they have no reasonable chance to make the playoffs.
It just doesn’t make any sense for them to bring Kawhi back and risk his long-term health. Popovich has five rings. He doesn’t measure himself on his ability to make the playoffs. He measures himself by winning championships, and with or without Leonard this is certainly not a championship level team.
Even this recent winning streak doesn’t look al that good when you take a closer look. All six of these wins? They were in San Antonio. Three of those wins? Against the Orlando Magic, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Utah Jazz.
All teams that are either not going to make the playoffs or as eight seeds at best if they do sneak in. So, was this really the Spurs getting their act together or was it just a nice soft spot in the schedule at home against some average at best teams? To me, it feels like the latter. The Spurs have lost seven out of their last eight games on the road.
I am not a huge fan of what Milwaukee is doing this season, but now that Jabari Parker is back with the team I expect them to be at least a serviceable squad. They aren’t going to win a playoff series, but maybe they win a game or two. Especially if they can sneak up to the seven seed and catch a really banged up Boston Celtics team in the first round.
Nobody wants to play a Raptors team that never loses at home in the first round, so the difference between the seven and the eight seed in the Eastern Conference is huge right now.
The big issue for the Bucks tonight is the health of Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak missed the Bucks last game against Chicago but practiced in full yesterday and will be a game-time decision. I think sitting the Freak in their last game was a strategic move. They didn’t need him to beat a bad Bulls team, so the rested him. I expect him to be back on the floor tonight.
I always try to not overreact to small sample sizes. Looking at the big picture is almost always the way to go when evaluating a game. Yeah, the Spurs are hot right now. But that was at home. On the road? They have been terrible all season long.
I am not going to let this soft patch of scheduling scare me into passing up getting a playoff caliber team, at home, as underdogs. I love home dogs in the NBA. And I especially love home dogs when the home team is a decent one, and the favorite is a team that struggles a lot on the road.
I am backing the Bucks in this game and snatching up the 2.5 points. I just see too much value backing the home dog.
Give me the Milwaukee Bucks +2.5-points tonight at home!