The Milwaukee Bucks try to extend their three-game winning streak when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a battle of Central Division contenders on Wednesday night. The opening tip for the contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.
Milwaukee is coming off a 133-127 victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings on Saturday. The Bucks are 30-19 and in second place in the Central Division, a half-game behind the Chicago Bulls.
The Cavaliers have won two in a row, including a two-point victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night. Cleveland is 29-19 and in third place in the Central Division, trailing the Bucks by a half-game.
The Bucks scored 133 points against the Kings on Saturday despite being without leading scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo and starting shooting guard Grayson Allen. Antetokounmpo missed the game with right knee soreness, though he’s probable for Wednesday’s contest. Allen was out for a one-game suspension due to a hard foul on Chicago’s Alex Caruso on Friday night.
Antetokounmpo is obviously the more important player to get back, as he ranks fourth in the league in scoring (28.6 points), sixth in rebounding (11.3) and 21st in assists (6.0). He’s also averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals , and his length will be needed against the Cavaliers’ front line.
Khris Middleton showed his scoring potential against Sacramento, going for 34 points, including 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range, while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists. The All-Star is averaging 20.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
What makes the Bucks an even more dangerous team is when guard Jrue Holiday is playing well. Holiday is averaging 18.2 points and a team-high 6.4 assists, and he’s a pest on the perimeter on the defensive end, averaging 1.1 steals.
Starting to Surge
The Cavaliers have won seven of their last eight thanks to a stifling defense and balanced offensive attack. The team is a mix of young and old, with Darius Garland leading the way and veteran Kevin Love providing some sage advice to the up-and-coming star.
“I’ve tried to be one of the vets in (Garland’s) life to tell him what to do and what not to do,” Love said after Monday’s win. “I’ve been telling him, keep leading us.”
Garland has stepped into that leadership role well, filling the void left by Collin Sexton, who is likely sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus. Garland leads the team with 19.7 points and 8.2 assists per game while also averaging 1.3 steals.
The Cavaliers’ frontcourt is deep with centers Jarrett Allen and rookie Evan Mobley providing length and rebounding. Allen is averaging 16.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while Mobley contributes 15.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
Love has been a solid contributor off the bench, averaging 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds. He scored 20 points in the win over the Knicks on Monday, and he’s hitting 40.2 percent from three-point range.
Bucks Earn Win
These two teams have split their first two meetings, both played in Milwaukee. The Cavaliers’ win, however, came with Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday out of the lineup. That won’t be the case on Wednesday, which means the Bucks should come out on top.
When doing your NBA betting, take the Bucks to win and cover on the road.