We’re not used to seeing the current version of the Milwaukee Bucks lose five games in a row. They made sure the slide didn’t reach six with a win over OKC and looked a lot like the team that finished with the best overall record in the league the previous two seasons with a dismantling of Sacramento. The Bucks continue their eight-game homestand with a matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of a TNT doubleheader on Thursday looking to avenge an earlier loss in the Big Easy.
The contest between the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks takes place at 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 25, 2021, from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee and will air live on TNT. BookMaker.eu will have odds for every game on the Thursday NBA schedule.
NBA Opening Lines at BookMaker.eu
To say the Pels needed a win is an understatement; how they got it was record breaking. Losing by 18 points to Phoenix after entering the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead gave New Orleans its fifth loss in six games while going 1-5 ATS. We’ve seen collapses by the Pels this season but that was probably the worst. I don’t think anyone expected them to rally the next time out against Boston. Trailing by 24 points in the third quarter, the Pels staged an epic comeback to win 120-115 in overtime cashing the OVER in a ninth straight game. They also improved to 13-17 SU and ATS with the OVER at 22-8. New Orleans beat Milwaukee 131-126 at home on Jan. 29 ending a four-game losing streak in the series while cashing the OVER. The Bucks were more frustrated than anything during their recent losing streak. They lost five straight going 0-5 ATS, including the first two of their lengthy homestand. For a team known for its offense it was the defense that helped end the slide. The Bucks allowed a season-low point total in their 98-85 win over the Thunder, and with the monkey off their back they make it two in a row knocking of Sacramento 128-115. They are 11-4 SU and 9-6 ATS at home.
New Orleans Pelicans
Talk about a roller coaster ride in the span of two days. Leading the Suns by 11 points heading into the fourth quarter of their game last week, the Pelicans lost 132-114 getting outscored 41-12 in the final frame. For a team below .500 and fighting for playoff positioning, that was a crushing defeat. Or was it? It seemed that way into the second half of their next game with Boston. The Pels fell behind by 24 points midway through the third quarter, and considering all that’s happened to them and playing what many consider one of the better teams in the East, the Pels roared back to win 120-115 in overtime. You can’t make this stuff up.
I guess the big question now is how do the Pels respond to the biggest comeback in franchise history? It can be the game that turns the season around or it can be just a footnote in the team’s record book. It’s up to the players to make that choice. We haven’t seen much defense this season from the Pels, who surrender over 115 points per game. But they were inspired against the Celtics giving up just 36 points from the middle of the third through overtime. And it allowed the offense to make up the difference.
The Bucks weren’t as desperate, but they also needed a win after dropping five in a row. And the defense rose to the occasion to end the skid. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Bucks to a 98-85 win over OKC. That the Bucks could win a half court game when the offense struggles is a good sign. And finally winning a game without Jrue Holiday is another big deal. Holiday missed all five losses while sequestering due to COVID, but he has cleared the league protocol and could be back in the lineup on Thursday. Getting their top defender and third-leading scorer back would certainly be a boost.
Giannis and Khris Middleton are a potent duo showing off their abilities as the Bucks made it two straight with a 128-115 win over Sac. The duo combined for 70 points with Antetokounmpo attempting 24 free throws in the game. The plan of opponents to put The Freak on the line will certainly get a second look after he made 19.
NBA Odds Pick
You expect a lot of points with teams that can fill it up. The OVER is 8-1 in the last nine meetings and the Pels are an over bettors dream going 22-8. There is a good chance we see Holiday back in the lineup and his presence will make a difference as the Bucks get the home cover.
NBA Odds Prediction: Bucks 124, Pelicans 115
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