Sunday NBACast Features Bucks-Rockets In Prime-Time Showdown
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The Milwaukee Bucks made their presence known in the NBA Bubble with a hard-fought victory over the Boston Celtics Friday. Things don’t get any easier for the Eastern Conference favorites Sunday, as they meet up with the Houston Rockets in a prime-time affair at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
NBA betting aficionados can track the Bucks-Rockets in real time on the #NBACast, co-hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux. The #NBACast offers live, in-game analysis, up-to-the second breakout stats and — as always — will take your in-game questions. Play begins at 8:40 p.m. ET. The game will also air on ABC. The #NBACast is sponsored by Bookies.com.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated Boston on Friday night with 36 points, 15 rebounds and, some say, an extra foul or two. Mercurial Celtics guard Marcus Smart was fined $15,000 for ripping the refs after a controversial reversal of an offensive foul call on Antetokounmpo that occurred with 1:28 left to play in Milwaukee’s 119-112 victory. The win helped the Bucks solidify their hold on the No. 1 spot in the East, while the Celtics are now just a game ahead of Miami for the No. 3 seed, heading into Sunday play.
Giannis-Harden Feud Returns To Spotlight
The Rockets returned to play Friday after the long pandemic-driven layoff with an ABA-style 153-149 overtime win over the Mavericks. James Harden dropped 49 points in 43 minutes and took 29 shots. He may have scored 60 had he not missed six of his nine 3-point attempts.
Giannis has issues with the Rockets, as well. After Antetokounmpo edged out Harden for MVP honors last season, the Rockets fired the first salvo with a tweet from the team’s official account that said “Congrats to the MVP, but we respectfully disagree.” The tweet was deleted, but the damage was done. Things have deteriorated ever since.
If Harden and Antetokounmpo can contain themselves on the court, expect basketball fireworks and a flood of video highlights on Instagram and Twitter. The points total on The Freak is 31.5 points, while Harden’s line is 33.5 at most books, including DraftKings in the eight-game run-up to the playoffs. The Bucks should do a better job of corralling Harden than the Mavericks did on Friday.
Milwaukee Holds Dominant Edge In East
The Bucks (54-12) need just one more win or a Toronto (47-18) loss to ice the No. 1 seed. The Rockets (41-24) are securely in the playoffs but could mathematically end up anywhere between the No. 3 and No. 7 seed. For those looking at NBA futures betting, the Bucks are a solid -190 to win the East at William Hill. The Rockets are +750 to win the West. Neither wager appears appetizing. And postseason home-court advantage doesn’t mean what it used to, given that all the games are being played within the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
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The Bucks are now +270 to hoist the Lawrence O’Brien Trophy this fall, up from +280 before the season resumed. Milwaukee is a smidge behind LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers at +250 to win it all, according to oddsmakers at BetMGM. The Rockets stand at +1200. A Bucks vs Lakers NBA Finals matchup is +250, while the Bucks meeting the Rockets returns +1200 at the same wagering establishment.
The Bucks beat the Rockets in Houston 117-111 on Oct. 24. It was the season-opener for both teams. Antetokounmpo powered Milwaukee and dropped a triple-double with 30 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds. Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 24 points.