- Warriors visit Milwaukee trying to bounce back from an opening night demolition in Brooklyn
- Bucks dropped opener with wild finish in Boston against the Celtics
- Check the odds, analysis and our betting prediction below for this Christmas Day game
The NBA definitely released only the first half of the season schedule to build in contingencies for COVID-19 delays — which as of this writing, had already seen one postponement over the first two days of the campaign.
But it also allowed them to view the landscape and set up their primetime schedule, to flex games on the fly.
Another effort like the demolition in Brooklyn, and the Golden State Warriors should be considered relegated to the undercard.
Alas, they get a chance to right the ship on Christmas Day against the Milwaukee Bucks, who won’t be in a festive mood after dropping their season opener in Boston. The Deer are big 9-point favorites, and that might be generous.
Warriors vs Bucks Odds
|Golden State Warriors||+9 (-110)||+330||Ov 232.5 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-9 (-110)||-420||Un 232.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel taken December 23. Tip-off is Friday at 2:40pm ET
Warriors Can’t Score, Defend
Yes, Golden State is without Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green was out due to COVID and a bad foot, but this edition of the Warriors has more than enough serviceable NBA players than the no-names that dotted the roster opening night last season.
Stephen Curry has never needed to carry a team to the playoffs:
“What I fear we’re going to find out this year is that he can’t… On the 2017 Thunder, Steph could not have done what Russell Westbrook did in dragging that team to the playoffs.” — @GetNickWright pic.twitter.com/WYLqP9YHUD
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 23, 2020
And still, it was not nearly enough, as the Brooklyn Nets hammered them, pumping a lead into the 30’s in a 125-99 beatdown.
Steph Curry’s 20 points and 10 dimes looks decent in box scores, but he was a non-factor when the game was on the line, a distant third star on the court behind superfriends Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
With 19 points, @BigTicket_JW notched the third most points for a Warriors rookie in his NBA debut in a Dubs season opener. pic.twitter.com/8F01ovWxey
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 23, 2020
James Wiseman, the second overall pick in the 2020 Draft, had a nice debut with 19 points and six rebounds, but he’s not ready to run shotgun next to Curry. Two major letdowns in this one were wings Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Wiggins was 4-for-16 from the floor for 13 points, while also turning it over four times. Oubre had just six points, a dismal 3-for-14 night. Four out of five Warriors starters was a -20 or worse Tuesday night.
We all know Andrew Wiggins and the rest of our Warriors will bounce back quickly from last night’s loss ? pic.twitter.com/P41BmZ8cYH
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) December 24, 2020
As a team, GState shot 37.4% from the field, and 30.3% from deep. On the other end, they let Brooklyn shoot 45.7% from the field and a blistering 15-for-35 from deep (42.9%). Green’s return should help the defense, but can the Warriors score enough to stay in games?
Bucks Banked Off TD Garden
Forget how it ended: Jason Tatum banking a side-step three over Giannis Antetokounmpo, then Giannis missing what should have been the game-tying free throw with 0.4 seconds to play. The way the Bucks looked getting there was impressive.
JAYSON TATUM. THE BANK IS OPEN pic.twitter.com/sjKXTZ3fWT
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 24, 2020
Milwaukee found themselves down by 17 entering the fourth quarter, but they were thrust back into the game by their back-to-back MVP. Antetokounmpo had 18 of his game-high 35 points in the final frame, to go along with 13 rebounds. He was also supported by fellow all-star Khris Middleton, who had 10 of his 27 in the fourth, also adding 14 boards and eight dimes.
2x MVP @Giannis_An34 posts up and scores off the turnaround baseline jumper! ? #OnlyHere
? Milwaukee Bucks pic.twitter.com/OKJt5ghv1u
— NBA Philippines (@NBA_Philippines) December 24, 2020
The third member of their newly formed big three, guard Jrue Holiday, finished the game with 25 points on a crisp 10-of-16 from the field. In fact, Milwaukee’s starting five put up 109 of the team’s total points in this one.
The Bucks needed more top-flight players to compete in the East and Holiday is that. It also helped them ink Giannis to the supermax, which keeps the Bucks in contention in the East, but they’re going to try to win with a top-heavy roster vs one built on depth but less star power the last two years.
Jrue Holiday made me feel bad for Jeff Teague during this sequence. This is bullying pic.twitter.com/oL3lKXlINq
— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) December 24, 2020
Milwaukee reserves have been thinned out, and they combined to take just 13 field goals and score 11 points Wednesday night. Mike Budenholzer will need to find some combinations to coax some contributions out of his bench this season.
What’s The Best Bet?
Green has already been confirmed a no for Christmas, which makes that Warriors interior defense ready to get dunked on by Giannis. Milwaukee shot better than 50% from the field and 40% from three against a legit-good Boston defense, and you can expect the same here. Wiggins and Oubre will need to pick up the slack, as Curry will be hounded by Holiday all game.
Plan to either take your nap or prepare your next Christmas meal in the second half of this one, as this game should be put to bed early.
The pick: Bucks -9 (-110)