- The Milwaukee Bucks (11-8) host the Portland Trail Blazers (10-8) Monday, Feb. 1 at the Fiserv Forum
- The game features two of the NBA’s most exciting stars, reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and five-time All-Star Damian Lillard
- Odds, spread and picks for Blazers-Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks (11-8) host the confident Portland Trail Blazers (10-8) on Monday, February 1st. The Blazers hung on for a wild 123-122 victory after a 20-point comeback by the Bulls Saturday that fell short thanks to a game winning shot by Damian Lillard. The Bucks, meanwhile, return home after a three-game road trip that saw Milwaukee lose its last two. Tip is set for 8:00 pm ET inside the Fiserv Forum.
Milwaukee are happy to be home after being beat on back-to-back nights by the Pelicans Friday, and Hornets Saturday. Lonzo Ball scored 27 points on seven three-pointers in a 131-126 New Orleans win Friday, while rookie LaMelo scored 27 points, dished out nine assists and had four steals in a 126-114 Charlotte victory Saturday.
Now, Milwaukee returns home as fairly large favorites against Portland.
Trail Blazers vs Bucks Odds
|Portland Trail Blazers||+370||+9.5 (-110)||O 235 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-480||-9.5 (-110)||U 235 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 1 from FanDuel
In case you needed a reminder Lillard needs to be mentioned in the same breath as LeBron, Giannia, Luka, Durant, Steph, Harden and Westbrook, Dame’s 44-point night in the Windy City – capped with a buzzer-beating, game-winning 3 – provided one.
LILLARD FOR THE WIN!!!! pic.twitter.com/spHIJxp7aB
— NBA Quick Highlights (@NBA_QHighlights) January 31, 2021
Loose ball, off balance, stumbling, none of it mattered. Dame is fearless. But what makes Lillard such a special leader is his attitude.
“(The coaching staff) will all tell you I am the most ambitious person in the world. They take me out when we’re down 10 with 15 seconds left and I am coming out of the game (ticked) off,” said Lillard after the win. ”
In my head, I play out every situation how we can somehow come out on top. This is special because it usually never works out how I see it in my head.”
It’s that kind of mentality that makes Dame and the Blazers hard to bet against.
The Buck Stops Here
Despite a near triple-double (34 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists ) from The Greek Freak, Milwaukee couldn’t overcome another opponent’s solid shooting night from deep and their own defensive gaffes against Charlotte.
But more concerning is the status of Antetokounmpo. The superstar got tangled up with Miles Bridges in the fourth quarter, appearing to bang knees.
“I think he kind of just knocked knees, so knee-to-knee,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. “He was obviously able to play. We’ll see how he feels in the morning, see how sore he is and hope for the best”
Bucks Injury Report:
Giannis Antetokounmpo (right knee; contusion) is probable for Monday’s game vs. Blazers
— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) January 31, 2021
Having Giannis available is critical if Milwaukee wants to snap its two-game losing skid. Even more critical is Milwuakee’s 3-point defense – or lack thereof – recently.
Saturday marked the second straight night the Bucks have allowed 21 made 3-pointers. That won’t do against Lillard and Co.
One Possession Game
The Blazers have lost three straight to the Bucks. But all three of those outcomes have been by three points or less. In fact, in the 14 games played so far in the new year, Portland is 8-6 – but has only lost three of those six by more than three points.
Bottom line, while Milwaukee will no doubt be happy to be home, 9.5 points is too big of a spread in this spot.
The Bucks have only lost twice at Fiserv this season (131-118 to Utah Jan. 8 and 113-106 to the Lakers Jan. 21), They typically handle their business on their home court. But recent history against Portland tells me this is a going to be a close one.
The pick: Portland +9.5 (-110)