Third plays fifth in the Eastern Conference in the NBA when the New York Knicks go to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
It’s the third meeting between the teams this season with one victory apiece so far. The Bucks won 134-101 in the last match-up on March 11 when Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 24 points and RJ Barrett impressed for New York with 22 points
Antetokounmpo Always Dangerous
Antetokounmpo, who ranks fifth in the NBA scoring chart with 28.3 points per game, is again expected to be the main threat to the Knicks, who are on a two-game winning streak having seen off the Washington Wizards twice in the past five days.
The Bucks, who are 18-8 against Eastern Conference opponents, are without PJ Tucker (calf), Rodions Kurucs (abdominal) and Bobby Portis (health protocols), while the Knicks (16-14 in Eastern Conference) have at least five absentees.
Julius Randle has a thigh injury, Reggie Bullock an ankle problem, Nerlens Noel a shoulder injury and Elfrid Payton is still being troubled by a hamstring strain. Derrick Rose has also been ruled out as he continues to work on his fitness.
Also in action on Sunday are two teams who are both keen to buck three-game losing runs as the Detroit Pistons go to the Wizards.
Pistons and Wizards both Need Win
The Pistons are bottom of the Eastern Conference and have lost to Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and, on Friday, the New York Nets and are understandably the outsiders at
29/20 in the Money Line, with the Wizards
20/33 to secure victory in what should be a closely-fought contest.
This is the first meeting between these two this season and Washington should have enough to get back to winning ways with Russell Westbrook likely to play a key role if they are to come out on top. He’s got a 10-game average of 25.4 points per game, and is also averaging 9.8 rebounds. For the Pistons, Jerami Grant has caught the eye, averaging 23.3 points, while Mason Plumlee is in decent form, averaging 3.8 assists and 10.8 points over the last 10 games.
The Wizards have injury concerns over Davis Bertans (calf), Bradley Beal (foot) and Ish Smith (quad), while Thomas Bryant’s knee injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
The Pistons will be without Dennis Smith Jr, who has a back injury, Killian Hayes, who is nursing a hip problem and Jahlil Okafo who has a knee injury.
Bulls Hope for LaVine Inspiration
Chicago Bulls will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats to Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers when they take on San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center.
The Bulls, who are 10-8 in road games, have Zach LaVine in a hot streak as he’s shooting 50.9 per cent over the last 10 games and is up to sixth in the NBA, averaging 28.1 points per game.
LaVine may have his work cut out to inspire the Bulls on Sunday, though, as San Antonio were 106-99 winners in the last match-up on March 17 and will be determined to end their four-game losing run at odds of
10/13 in the Money Line.
The Spurs’ injury list contains Marquese Chriss, Lonnie Walker IV and Keita Bates-Diop, while the Bulls have reported no new injuries ahead of the clash.
Jazz Make it Four on Bounce
On Friday, Western Conference leaders Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to four with a 117-114 victory over Memphis Grizzlies, while James Harden again starred for the Brooklyn Nets in their win over the Pistons. The 31-year-old ended up with 44 points, managing 14 rebounds and eight assists in the 113-111 victory.
Elsewhere, the Minnesota Timberwolves recovered from a 19-point second-half deficit to eventually beat the Houston Rockets 107-101 and the LA Lakers, for whom LeBron James was again absent with an ankle injury, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-86.
*All odds correct at time of writing.