Game: Memphis Grizzlies @ Milwaukee Bucks
Time: 10:30 p.m.
Odds: Grizzlies -7.5, Bucks +7.5
Memphis is a big favorite tonight in the Fiserv Forum. That can mean only one thing. The Bucks will be resting many of their regulars after clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee (58-22) defeated the Chicago Bulls 105-92 on Wednesday to clinch the best record in the NBA. Brook Lopez scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Bobby Portis finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Due to right knee pain, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo missed practice and is likely to miss tonight’s game. For Milwaukee, which has finished with the best record in the league in three of the last five seasons, Antetokounmpo averages 31.1 points and 11.8 rebounds.
On December 15, Milwaukee suffered one of its worst defeats of the year at Memphis. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 25 points as they triumphed 142-101. For Memphis (50-30) to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, it needs one victory in its final two games. The Grizzlies lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 138-131 in overtime on Wednesday to start their final three-game road trip of the season.
Memphis rested Morant (hip), Luke Kennard (ankle), and Xavier Tillman while Jaren Jackson Jr., who finished with a season-high 40 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks had his best game of the season.
Since his eight-game suspension was over, Morant has been getting used to his new position. Although the Grizzlies’ offense still revolves around the two-time All-Star, head coach Taylor Jenkins wants Morant to give shooting guard Desmond Bane and center Reggie Jackson more opportunities to score.
Since going three straight in 2013–15, Memphis has now had back-to-back 50-win seasons for the second time in franchise history. The Grizzlies think they’re in a strong position going into the postseason after overcoming Morant’s suspension as well as injuries to Steven Adams (knee) and Brandon Clarke (season-ending Achilles).
Compared to the Grizzlies, Milwaukee has had a relatively stress-free season, but the Bucks are keeping an eye on a few injuries with two regular-season games left. Due to right knee pain, Khris Middleton left Wednesday’s game against Chicago in the first quarter and did not come back. Pat Connaughton and Grayson Allen, who both missed the game with sprained right ankles, were also absent for the Bucks.
Due to the absence of several starters, Jrue Holiday stepped up against the Bulls with 20 points, 15 assists, and 8 rebounds. Holiday likely will not play tonight either.
Memphis is 12-4 SU in its last 16 games. The Bucks have won 16 of their last 19 games at the Fiserv Forum. Memphis has won five of the last six against Milwaukee and the Grizzlies have covered in four of those six games.
Milwaukee is 5-1 SU in its last six games. The Over in four of the Bucks’ last six games. In the last 13 Grizzlies-Bucks games, the Over has hit nine times.
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