The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks get a few days to lick their wounds before hosting the NBA best Golden State Warriors in the first game of a TNT doubleheader on Thursday. The Bucks lost back to back games to Charlotte and have dropped four of five before settling in for a few days of rest.
And they’ll need it against the Warriors, who just welcomed Klay Thompson back after a two-year injury hiatus. Thompson dropped 17 in a win over Cleveland on Sunday, his first game action in nearly 1,000 days, and the Warriors improved to 30-9 with the triumph.
Golden State Warriors vs Milwaukee Bucks Date & Time
Thursday, January 13’s game will air live on TNT with tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI.
Golden State Warriors vs Milwaukee Bucks Odds
Golden State Warriors +2 | Milwaukee Bucks -2 [BET NOW]
Total 223.5 [BET NOW]
Season to Date
Before the season started, many had the Warriors as a top team with several sportsbooks putting them high on the odds list of O’Brien Trophy contenders. But I don’t think anyone expected them to be best-in-the-NBA good. At least not up to this point in the season. The return of Thompson was always going to take place and that certainly factored into the odds. Putting three-fifths of the starting lineup that made five straight NBA Finals appearances on the floor will do that. What the Warriors accomplished before Klay returned was quite impressive.
It took 38 games for the Dubs to lose two in a row and even then it was because Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both sat. Last week they fell to Dallas when Curry shot just 5 of 24 from the floor. Curry and Green rested minor injuries the next night in a loss to the Pels. It was an obvious sign that Steve Kerr lost the battle with hopes of winning the war. Well, he just got reinforcements when Thompson returned on Sunday scoring 17 points in 20 minutes. The Warriors won the game improving to 30-9 SU and 23-14-2 ATS.
The Bucks are still looking for consistency in their game. They opened the season losing eight of their first 14 games followed by an eight-game winning streak. In mid-December they lost four of seven games only to follow that with a six straight wins. They fell back into a slump last week and have now lost two in a row and four of five ahead of this matchup.
And some of those losses came against teams you wouldn’t expect the defending champs to lose to. They were upended by Detroit and Toronto at home and lost two straight in Charlotte. The Bucks protected their own court the past few seasons owning one of the best home records in the league. They enter Thursday’s game having lost two straight at home while going 13-7 SU and 7-13 ATS.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors do a lot of things well, which is why they are where they are in the standings. And they’ll probably get better with Thompson back and last year’s top draft pick James Wiseman returning soon. But even the best have off nights now and again. We saw Curry endure a shooting slump going 8 for 41 from the field and 2 of 19 from three-point land in a recent two-game stretch. That won’t last. And Green was sidelined with a calf injury putting his status for this game in doubt.
Thompson’s return from knee and Achilles injuries overshadowed everything, though, and all seemed right for the Warriors on Sunday. Thompson got the start dropping 17 points on 7 of 18 shooting as the Dubs stopped their skid with a payout victory. While they’re not scoring a bunch of points the Warriors are winning with defense. They are the best in the NBA in fewest points allowed and opponent’s field goal percentage.
When people say it’s hard to repeat the Bucks will believe them. As defending champs there is a target squarely on their backside and they can’t afford to take a night off since they are getting opponents best every night. That’s something even two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo cant stop. Giannis continues to be a beast averaging 28.4 points and 11.4 rebounds and Khris Middleton is having another fine campaign. But the Bucks need everybody on board and that hasn’t happened often this season.
The big losses are in the backcourt with Jrue Holiday, George Hill and Grayson Allen all currently on the shelf. It’s resulted in some mixed rotations on the court with Middleton playing some point. That hasn’t turned out well with Middleton committing 13 total turnovers in the losses to Charlotte. The offense has been affected with the Bucks scoring no more than 111 points in any of their last four losses. During their recent six-game winning they averaged 124 points with Holiday running the show. They sure need him back in the lineup.
Warriors vs Bucks Predictions
The Bucks will break out of their slump at some point, they’re just too talented not to. But it’s not happening on Thursday. Now that the Warriors have most of their pieces in place, and there’s a good chance Green is in the lineup, we’ll see more of the championship Dubs. And as Thompson gets his legs expect the threes to start falling.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors +2 and OVER 223.5
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