The Milwaukee Bucks (54-12) face off against the Houston Rockets (41-24) in the second contest since the league’s restart in Orlando, Fla. at the Disney World Sports Complex. Both the Bucks and Rockets are coming off victories on Friday and are locks for the playoffs.
Tipoff for the cross-league showdown is set for 8:30 p.m. EST and will be seen nationally on ABC. The Bucks (-4) are the early favorites in the contest, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks returned to action after the league pause with a 119-112 victory over the Boston Celtics behind a 36-point output from All-Star Giannis Antetokoumpo. Antetokoumpo was 14-of-20 from the floor while also snagging 15 rebounds. The Bucks now have a seven lead over the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, so a victory Sunday would lock up the top seed for the playoffs.
Khris Middleton added 18 points while big man Brook Lopez provided 14 points and ten blocked shots on the defensive end. Lopez’s defense this season has made him a potential NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Milwaukee had dropped their final three games before the season came to a pause. On Friday, the team looked like the squad that possesses the best record in the league.
Antetokoumpo collected 30 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 117-111 when these two teams last met. The contest was the first for each team to start the 2019-2020 season.
What to Know – Houston Rockets
Houston provided fireworks on Friday night in Orlando battling out a thrilling overtime victory (153-149) over the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets victory keeps them in a tie with the Oklahoma City Thunder for 6th place in the Western Division playoff picture.
James Harden shined in the return to action with a game-high 49 point on 14-of-20 shooting from the floor and 18-of-21 from the free-throw line. Harden scored 23 of his 49 points in the first quarter.
Russell Westbrook, who was one of the league players to test positive for the coronavirus, chipped in 31 points and pulled down 11 rebounds while Danuel House Jr. added 20 points of 6-fo-12 shooting from beyond the arc. The Rockets as a team shot 40% from the three-point line.
The Rockets only played eight players in the win over the Mavs, utilizing the scoring skillset of Harden and Westbrook on offense. While the Bucks have a deeper bench and size-advantage over the Rockets, look for Harden and Westbrook to create one-on-one matchups to break down the Bucks defense.
The Pick is In
As most of these final regular-season games versus the top teams in the league, this contest should be a close one throughout the night. Houston’s efficient offense will get a stern test from Milwaukee’s stingy defense.
Ultimately, Antetokoumpo and the Bucks will be too much for the Rockets. We like the Bucks (-4) against the spread in the Sunday night showdown.