Minnesota Timberwolves (22-13) at Milwaukee Bucks (17-15)
My four-game winning streak came to an end last night as I may have gotten a little overzealous on Memphis Grizzlies hate and they stung me on the road when they beat the Lakers 109-99. Or maybe I just underestimated how much not having Lonzo Ball running the point would matter to L.A. Either way, I came up a bit short and its back to the drawing board today. Today, I will be zeroing in on a matchup featuring the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks tonight. Minnesota is enjoying a resurgent season as they sit atop the Northwest Division in the Western Conference at 22-13. The Wolves come in red-hot, winners of five straight and eight out of their last ten games. The Bucks have been the definition of mediocre this year and have been hanging right around the .500 mark all season long.
That being said, if the season ended today, Milwaukee would find itself in the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference, currently occupying the seventh seed. Milwaukee has struggled as of late, losers of five out of their last seven. The Bucks are -3.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 213 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
The Minnesota Timberwolves went all in during the offseason when they made the move to bring in Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls. That move looks to have been a good one as Minnesota has not disappointed and are one of the best teams in a very good Western Conference this year. This team is only going to bet better as the season moves along with young players Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns getting better by the day.
Towns, specifically, looks like a future MVP candidate. The skilled big man is averaging a double-double at 20 points and almost 12 boards a game. Towns is shooting above 50% from the field and an astounding, for such a big man, 83% from the charity stripe. He is leading a Minnesota team that is one of the best shooting and scoring teams in the NBA.
The Milwaukee Bucks are a bit of a one-man show this season. There is Giannis Antetokounmpo, and then there is the rest of the team. The Greek Freak is truly a one of a kind talent. Antetokounmpo is averaging 30 points a game to go with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, almost 2 steals and a block and a half a game. Those are MVP numbers. At least once a game the freak does something that takes your breath away.
The Bucks are getting some solid production out of Kris Middleton who is adding in over 20 points a game and they have some decent role players in Eric Bledsoe and Marcus Brogdon. But this is Giannis’ team, and there is no doubt about it.
Minnesota is a much better team than Milwaukee this year. I am not sure you can even argue the other side of that. The Wolves have a big three in the making with Butler, Towns, and Wiggins and could surprise people in the west this year in the playoffs.
The Bucks? They are just trying to figure out a way to get people to learn how to pronounce Antetokounmpo. Stuck in that special NBA purgatory of being good enough to compete but not good enough to win it all, I am curious to see how Milwaukee builds around the Greek Freak in the next couple of years.
The reason we see the Bucks as favorites tonight is because of what happened last night. The Bucks got the night off, while the Wolves had to battle the Denver Nuggets in overtime. In the NBA we see lots of teams take nights off, especially on the road after a long game the night before. It is just human nature to let up a little bit after such a hard-fought battle the night before. But I don’t see this happening tonight for Minnesota.
This team is young and hungry to make its mark on the NBA. This isn’t a well-seasoned veteran team that knows when it can and cannot take night’s off. This is a team that goes out and competes to win every night. If this was a Cleveland Cavaliers team tonight playing in Milwaukee that knows December games mean nothing? I would love the home team. But it’s not. It’s a Wolves team that is fighting desperately for a seat at the big boy table in the Western Conference.
I expect the Wolves may come out a little flat and could end up with heavy, tired legs, in the third and fourth quarter. But in the end, I also expect that they will be the better team and gut out the victory tonight. They are just the much better team and can’t afford to let up as it’s starting to look like Oklahoma City is figuring things out with their newly acquired big three and are breathing right down the Wolves necks for first place in the division.
The money line isn’t overly attractive to me, and I don’t mind hedging those tired legs a little bit, so I will be snatching up the 3.5 points as well. Give me the road underdog Minnesota Timberwolves tonight plus 3.5 points.