The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips for a massive showdown between in-form big dogs Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.
14:00 (AEDT), Fri 11th Feb @ Footprint Center, Phoenix
History: Played 154: Suns 77 V Bucks 77
Last meeting: July 20, 2021 (NBA Finals): Bucks 105 d Suns 98 at Fiserv Forum
Final Thoughts: Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns belatedly square off for the first time since last season’s NBA Finals. The Giannis Antetokounmpo-inspired Bucks surged to the Championship in six games in July after the Suns raced to a 2-0 lead.
Finals MVP Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists across the series, while Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday stood up at crucial junctures. Devin Booker twice topped 40 points for the Suns but was shut down in Game 6.
There’s every chance the heavyweights will meet in the Finals again in a few months time; the Suns ($6.00) and Bucks ($7.00) are on the third and fourth lines of title betting respectively.
The Suns have opened up a handy lead at the top of the Western Conference with an NBA-best 44-10 record. They have won 13 of their last 14, bouncing back from last week’s nine-point loss in Atlanta with road wins over the Wizards (95-80), Bulls (127-124) and 76ers (114-109).
After dropping 38 points on the Bulls, Booker led a Suns rally with 35 points in Philadelphia. Chris Paul (16 pts, 12 ast) was typically influential and JaVale McGee had 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 17 minutes off the bench.
The 35-21 Bucks are second in the East and building momentum after a bumpy January. They went 7-8 last month but have now won four straight for only the third time in their injury-impacted title defence. In the past five days Milwaukee have scored 130-plus against the Blazers, Clippers and Lakers.
Giannis exploded for 44 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists in a 131-116 defeat of the Lakers on Wednesday (AEDT). Bobby Portis’ hot run of form continued with 23 points and 7 rebounds, while Jrue Holiday (15 pts, 7 reb, 10 ast) made a strong all-round contribution.
The Suns are 22-5 at home (13-14 ATS), winning their last five at Footprint Center. The Bucks are 16-12 on the road (15-13 ATS), their current three-game streak coming on the back of four straight away losses.
In a season where so many blockbusters have been blunted by the absence of big names, this shapes as one of the best games of the year to date. The underdog Bucks’ sizzling recent form is hard to ignore, however, as they look to make a sizeable statement.
Best Bet: Result – Bucks @ $2.27
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Bucks +3.5; Total – Over 232.5; Bobby Portis Points – Over 15.5; Giannis Antetokounmpo Points – Over 30.5 @ $10.54