On Dec. 27, 2019, I placed a hefty wager on the Milwaukee Bucks in a seemingly innocuous recreation against the then 6-25 Atlanta Hawks most efficient to sight, to my alarm, that Giannis Antetokounmpo changed into once dominated out with an injury soon after the wager changed into once made. Terrible at the chance of a wager misplaced earlier than tip, I did now not even bother to undercover agent the recreation. Easiest later, once I went into my cell account to test the strains for the next day’s video games, did I sight to my shock that the Bucks had obtained by 26 aspects. Khris Middleton scored 23. Brook Lopez poured in 19 more. The recreation changed into once never even close.
I need to now not the finest bettor to procure skilled something esteem this. The Bucks went 6-3 with out Antetokounmpo that season in video games with precise implications within the standings. Since Mike Budenholzer took over as head coach, the Bucks are 16-11 in such video games. That Hawks recreation, in a vacuum, draw nothing. Despite the indisputable truth that a number of of the avid gamers had been the identical, here’s a truly diversified and a long way superior Atlanta group.
However Milwaukee’s success with out Giannis? That’s sustainable. Lopez can scale up offensively, particularly within the post, with Antetokounmpo out. Milwaukee can quiet build loads of taking pictures and protection on the bottom. The Bucks doubtlessly can now not beat the Western Convention champion with out Giannis. However winning two dwelling video games with out him against a gaggle that is acceptable as depleted? That’s doable. I’m sticking with the Bucks in Game 5 at the same time as Antetokounmpo sits out with that hyperextended knee. Right here are Thursday’s high picks.
All strains by William Hill Sportsbook
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks
Most trendy Odds:
There’s going to be a temptation to mumble “the Bucks bought killed after Giannis went down in Game 4. Why will procure to Game 5 be any diversified?” Successfully, ogle at the Hawks. They struggled mightily once Trae Young went down in Game 3… and had been winning Game 4 even earlier than Giannis went down. Avid gamers are human. Losing their chief is emotional. The Bucks had been shellshocked when they misplaced their MVP. The Nets had been when Kyrie Irving went down within the second spherical as neatly… after which they obtained Game 5 of that sequence with out him. Two days is ample time for a gaggle to chill down and refocus the recreation belief. The consume: Bucks -2
It be easy to neglect now that he is changed into this kind of lawful shooter, but Lopez changed into once once no doubt one of the most NBA‘s premier post scorers. He averaged over 20 aspects per recreation four occasions and made an All-Monumental title group in 2013. He averaged 15.6 aspects in a five-recreation stretch that Antetokounmpo neglected in April, and the Bucks will procure to ogle to him for uncomplicated offense in Game 5. The consume: Lopez over 13.5 aspects
I think, with a honest to juice their offense with out Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are going to play Bryn Forbes more in Game 5. He’s now not going to open possessions on the ball, so that likely draw he’d secure loads of minutes defending Kevin Huerter earlier than swap-hunts and other actions designated to punish him kick in. Huerter slaughtered Seth Curry in Game 7 of the Philly sequence. He will procure to search out the same success if he will get ample time against Forbes. The consume: Huerter over 13.5 aspects