and the Bucks host the LA Clippers Sunday. (Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)
- The Milwaukee Bucks (20-13) host the L.A. Clippers (24-11) Sunday, Feb. 28
- Milwaukee has won four in a row, while the Clippers have split the last six games
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Milwaukee Bucks (20-13), who have won four in a row after dropping five straight, host the Los Angeles Clippers (24-11) Sunday, Feb. 28 Tip is set for 3:30pm ET at the Fiserv Forum.
Tyronn Lue’s club rebounded from a 28-point loss to Memphis Thursday with a 20-point victory over the Grizzlies Friday. Kawhi Leonard was brilliant, going for 30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the win. Meantime, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points and became the first Bucks player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973 to score at least 35 in three straight after a 129-125 decision over the Pelicans.
Now, Mike Budenholzer’s group is a slight favorite over Kawhi and Co. at home.
Clippers vs Bucks Odds
|Clippers||+1.5 (-110)||+102||Ov 236.5 (-112)|
|Bucks||-1.5 (-110)||-120||Un 236.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Feb. 27 at FanDuel
Adjustments Mean Everything
How did L.A. account for a 48-point swing in 24 hours? According to All-Star forward Paul George, it was simply a matter of Lue making adjustments thanks to his players ratcheting up defensive pressure. The difference was night and day.
The Grizzlies scored 18 fewer points in the paint, shot 25% worse from behind the three-point arc and couldn’t keep their composure. Star guard Ja Morant was ejected late in the fourth quarter after arguing for a foul. For a team like the Clippers — with its own maturity issues at times (Exhibit A: Surrendering a 3-1 series lead to Denver in last year’s Western Conference Semfinals) – it must have been fun for L.A. to witness the meltdown from the other side.
Now, Lue’s club faces another squad that has had its share recent disappointments in the postseason. Will the Clippers’ renewed defensive tenacity frustrate Milwaukee like it did Memphis?
Unlike the last two years, Antetokounmpo isn’t the overwhelming MVP favorite so far this season. But with his recent trio of performances, the Greek Freak is slowly entering the conversation to earn a third-straight honor.
The 26-year-old, who is also the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has averaged 37.7 points in wins over Sacramento, Minnesota and New Orleans. He’s averaging 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists per game this season, shooting 56% from the field.
But as impressive as Giannis has been, it’s another Buck that may hold the key to victory Sunday. Jrue Holiday’s status is uncertain, having missed the last 10 games due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Milwaukee has gone 5-5 in those games and Holiday’s skill-set could help neutralize a rejuvenated Clipper team.
Giannis (5.9) and Khris (5.7) are both in the top 30 in the NBA in assists per game, and Jrue Holiday is right behind them (5.4)
The Bucks are collectively knocking down 39.6% of their 3-pointers, helping propel them into the 2nd best offense, behind only the Nets. pic.twitter.com/Ela4QeQLq3
— IKE Bucks Podcast (@IKE_Bucks) February 27, 2021
Holiday is averaging 16 points, five rebounds and five assists per game so far this season. Those are comparable numbers to what the LA native has produced against the Clippers during his career. The former UCLA Bruin has averaged 14.0 points, 7.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 25 games against the franchise.
The Clippers have an elite offense as well, ranking third in NBA’s Net Ratings, right behind the Bucks..
Last season, Milwaukee swept the two-game series with LA, while Sunday marks their first matchup this year, And while the Bucks can beat the Clippers without him, having Holiday on the court — alongside Mr. MVP Giannis — would be most helpful.
Bucks Stop Here?
The Bucks have been inconsistent at best and alarmingly upsetting to their fans at worst when it comes to closing out good teams. For example, the Bucks have played four games against teams in the top four of the Western Conference standings this season and are 0-4.
Meanwhile, being on the road hasn’t stopped Lue’s crew from winning, as the Clippers sport a 12-5 mark away from Staples. The only team better is their co-tenant in the arena, the Lakers, who sport a 13-4 road record. A big reason why is Leonard.
One cool customer.@kawhileonard earned our @Kia Performance of the Game vs. Memphis. pic.twitter.com/2PsP6WAaGh
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 27, 2021
So, what gives at Fiserv? Prior to the narrow victory over the Pels, the Bucks won their previous three games by an average of 17.7 points. However, against a focused LA team, I expect Sunday’s tilt to be much closer.
Milwaukee shot 54% against New Orleans. That won’t happen Sunday. While the Bucks may squeeze out a victory, I’ll take the Clippers and the points in this spot.
The Clippers: +1.5 (-110)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.