Can Bucks catch Cavaliers napping?
Moving ever closer to clinching the Eastern Conference’s top seed, Cleveland will carry a potentially shorthanded squad into tonight’s matchup with the Bucks.
With or without point guard Kyrie Irving, though, the Cavs are preferred by oddsmakers. Online sports book Bovada.lv lists coach Tyronn Lue’s crew as a slight favorite to claim its fourth straight victory.
Irving sprained his right ankle in late in the first half of Friday’s 110-108 overtime win at Atlanta. Soreness and swelling kept out of the following contest vs. Hornets, but LeBron James responded with 31 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in another Cleveland triumph. The four-time MVP has absolutely flourished in recent weeks, averaging 28.6 points, 9.6 assists and 8.9 board during a 6-2 stretch.
Milwaukee (32-45), though, boasts its own stat-sheet stuffer. Giannis Antetokounmpo logged a career-high 34 points, nine dimes and five rebounds in Sunday’s 102-98 defeat to the Bulls – two nights after recording his fifth triple-double in a 113-110 W over Orlando.
Unfortunately for this evening’s host squad, injury concerns also lurk. A strained left thigh prevented leading scorer Kris Middleton from participating in that tilt vs. Chicago. While Jabari Parker filled in admirably in his stead, the Bucks need every available post resource to counter the Cavs’ Kevin Love-Tristan Thompson tandem.
Cleveland (55-22) has prevailed in four of the last five meetings in the series, but Jason Kidd’s squad tends to ratchet up the performance at BMO Harris Bradley Center (23-16). The visitors, pacing Toronto in the East by 3 ½ games with five left, better not be caught looking ahead to tomorrow's bout with Indiana.
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