The Milwaukee Bucks enter Dallas with a 39-13 record and winners of nine of their last ten games. Dallas is four games under .500 at 24-28, but are 18-7 at home. The Bucks took the first meeting between the teams this season by ten points at home on January 21. What will the Mavericks have to offer in terms of resistance this time around?
Examining the teams statistically, the Bucks are first in rebounding and second in scoring. They are also seventh in fewest points allowed. If there is an area of weakness, it could be ball control. They are just 15th in the league in turnovers. The Mavericks are solid defensively and in rebounding, ranked 11th in both categories. However they are 25th in turnovers, which in part leads to their 20th ranked scoring offense.
Milwaukee is lead by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averages 26.7 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. Khris Middleton (17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds) and veteran guard Eric Bledsoe (15.8 points, 5.5 assists) add excellent complimentary pieces. Brook Lopez is a very versatile big man that provides a scoring punch, while Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell and DJ Wilson hurt opponents from long range, hitting 42 percent from beyond the arc. The Bucks have a very deep, talented squad.
The Mavericks lineup is quite different than it was just a short time ago since the trade of DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr. Their most recent starting lineup of Harrison Barnes, Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Max Kleber features only two player in double digits scoring. Donic averages a team best 20.7 points and seven rebounds, while Barnes adds 17.8 and 4.3 rebounds. JJ Barea adds 10.9 off the bench but clearly the Mavericks are outmatched in terms on manpower in this one.
Dallas has been respectful at home and should put together a solid effort. However, Milwaukee will take control of the game in the second half and should be ahead by double digits in the fourth quarter. From there, it will be easy sailing to remain on top in the Eastern Conference.