Despite missing Giannis Antetokounmpo the Bucks haven't missed a beat. Wednesday night they'll be looking for their sixth straight win without the reigning league MVP.
The Milwaukee Bucks are without reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. The Deer look to extend their unbeaten run without the Greek Freak in the lineup when they take on the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday.
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He’s the best player in the Association and seems to be a shoe-in to win the league’s top individual honour a second consecutive season, but Milwaukee isn’t missing him. Antetokounmpo missed Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings because of the birth of his first child.
The Bucks won the game 123-111 as 10-point home favourites to improve to 5-0 straight up and against the spread in games without Giannis this season. Milwaukee is enjoying a five-game win streak in which it’s covered the number each time.
The club owns a tidy 31-22 ATS mark and is on pace to finish with 71 regular season wins this year. That would put them just one win behind the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and two wins behind the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors for best regular seasons in NBA history.
The Pacers are no slouches themselves. They were flying high in the Eastern Conference standings with a lunch-pale carrying group of players. The clock may have struck midnight for this Cinderella side. Indy is winless in its last six and 1-5 against the number during the same slump.
Milwaukee is dominating the recent series history between these two teams. The Bucks are 8-2 SU and ATS in their last 10 games against the Pacers. The East leaders are 2-0 in two games against Central division rivals this season – outscoring the Pacers by a combined 48 points in the process.
You have to credit head coach Mike Budenholzer that the Bucks’ performances don’t dip without their main contributor on the court. Milwaukee’s net rating without Giannis on the floor (+8.1) would still be tops in the league if it was the club’s overall net rating.
Don’t expect these stats to have a major impact on the MVP race. The best player on the best team in the league during the regular season is normally the right two ingredients to make an MVP winner in the history of the league. Sports Interaction listed Antetokounmpo as the favourite to take the honour when the online betting site last listed odds on its NBA futures board.
Who would have thought the Pacers could have secured two future All-Stars when they traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis back in 2017.
Oladipo earned his first two All-Star berths in each of his first two seasons with the Pacers. Sabonis registered his first All-Star appearance this season thanks to some hefty improvements in his fourth NBA season.