It is an Eastern Conference showdown on Friday as the top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks (29-11) travel to Capital One Arena to take on the Washington Wizards (17-25), who currently rank 11th in the East. For the Bucks, they have won two in a row, including a very impressive 116-109 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. For the Wizards, they are 2-2 over their last 4 games including a home and away split with the Philadelphia 76ers. The contest on Wednesday saw them beat Philadelphia 123-106. The two will square off on Friday with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 pm ET.
In this contest, the Milwaukee Bucks come in as 6.5-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under for total points scored is set at 231.
By The Numbers
The Milwaukee Bucks are truly superior on both sides of the ball compared to the Wizards. When looking at adjusted offensive ranking, which estimates points scored based on 100 possessions while also taking into account opponent’s defense, the Bucks rank 7th in the NBA at 113.46. For the Wizards, they drop all the way down to 16th, with an estimated total of 109.76.
As good as the Bucks are on offense, they are even better on defense. In adjusted defensive rating, the Bucks rank 2nd in the NBA, allowing an average of 105.18 points per 100 possessions. For the Wizards, they come in almost at the bottom at 28th in the league, allowing 114.23 points per 100 possessions.
With the combination of stellar offense and defense, it is no wonder that Milwaukee is atop the Eastern rankings, but it also might mean a long night for Washington on Friday.
Milwaukee Riding Hot Season From “Greek Freak”
You can’t talk about how sensational the Bucks are without talking about Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is having an amazing season and is making a strong bid for MVP. On the season, he is averaging 26.6 points on 58.1% shooting. He is also averaging 12.8 rebounds, 6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. If he wasn’t already there, Antetokounmpo has truly elevated himself to superstar status this season.
In addition to Giannis, Milwaukee has some really solid players that they roll out on a nightly basis. Khris Middleton is averaging 17.7 points on 43.5% shooting, as well as 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per night. Other contributors include Brook Lopez (12.2 points, 4 rebounds), Malcolm Brogdon (15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists), and Eric Bledsoe (15 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists). With a solid team, including multiple scoring threats, around Antetokounmpo, they are a tough matchup for any team.
Wizards Trying To Get On Track Without Wall
It had already been a somewhat tumultuous season for the Wizards as a disgruntled John Wall led the Wizards’ brass to consider trading the superstar. After having surgery on his heel, Wall is out for the season and the focus of the Wizards is now centered around Bradley Beal. On the season, Beal is averaging 24.2 points on 47.2% shooting, as well as 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per night. Unfortunately for Beal and the Wizards, there are no other phenomenal scoring threats around him, especially with Wall sidelined.
The other contributors for Washington include Markieff Morris (11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds), Otto Porter Jr. (12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds) and Jeff Green (11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds). While Beal is a nice player, it will take outstanding games from everyone to overcome a solid Bucks team.
Bucks Win And Cover
There is just not much to like about Washington in this one. They have a depleted scoring corps, and they are going against the best team in the East, one who is solid on both the offensive and defensive sides. I think they might keep it relatively close for the first half, particularly playing at home, but I would be shocked if this is close at all. To me, 6.5 points seems like a gift. I am taking Milwaukee laying the 6.5 points.