The NBA’s two best teams are set to go head-to-head on Thursday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Lakers prepare to play out the game of the season so far.
After their losses at the beginning of the week, the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are back to fighting for the league’s best record.
On Thursday evening they will go head-to-head in an extremely anticipated game. It will be this season’s most exciting game yet, providing an epic showdown of potential MVP candidates, top-5 rated offenses and defenses, and a potential Finals matchup.
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Best in the East and West
The Bucks and Lakers have found themselves neck and neck all season, jostling for the best record in the NBA. Currently, they are tied with a record of 24-4. The Bucks will be hungry to start a new win streak, following their previous 18-game run. Meanwhile, the Lakers will be looking for a road-win after ending their road win streak of 14.
It’s no question following both teams’ fourth loss of the season that they will each be anxious to win, while facing the possibility of their first back-to-back loss of the season too.
Giannis, LeBron, and AD
With the reigning MVP matching up against the King himself, it will be exciting to watch this season’s potential candidates for that award go toe-to-toe. Anthony Davis is also added into the mix, averaging 27.9 points per game in his first season as a Laker.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be coming out with a vengeance, especially after a loss in which he still contributed 48 points. After the Bucks’ previous loss to the Utah Jazz, Giannis lit up the boxscore in the following game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Greek Freak is second in scoring in the league, averaging 31.7 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Lakers will be bringing their Hollywood-worthy show to the Cream City with their two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, leading the charge.
The 24 wins the Lakers have are the best start of any team LeBron James has been on in his 17 seasons. Though Anthony Davis did not play against the Indiana Pacers Tuesday, the player in the running for Defensive Player of the Year is sure to provide a challenge to Antetokounmpo. In addition, LeBron leads the NBA in assists, averaging a career-best 10.7 assists per game.
Top 5 Offense and Defense
Since 2011, all championship teams have finished the season in the top-5 of net rating. This season, the Bucks and Lakers have managed to be dominant on both ends of the floor, looking every bit the part of championship-caliber teams. Milwaukee leads the league with a net rating of 12.4, while the Lakers are second with 8.7. Both teams’ benches also have impressive net ratings, holding second and third place.
The Bucks lead the league with 53 points per game in the paint, 19 of which come from Antetokounmpo. They also attempt the second most 3-pointers in the league, trailing only the Rockets. On the other hand, the Lakers lead the league in blocks per game and are fifth in the league in limiting their opponents points per game in the paint.
While Antetokounmpo will be attacking as always, and there’s not a force on earth that could stop Giannis from scoring in the paint, points in the paint may not come as easily for the rest of the team. They will have to knock down their jump shots and get to the free throw line early. It will be interesting to watch the Bucks trying to draw the Lakers’ shot blockers out toward the perimeter during their matchup.
The Bucks could gain an advantage if they capitalize on the Lakers’ tendency to turn the ball over. The Lakers are in the bottom half of the league in allowing points off turnovers, while the Bucks rank seventh in the league in capitalizing off takeaways.
2019-20 Finals Matchup
While there is a long road ahead for both teams, tomorrow’s matchup will give us the best look yet at this season’s potential finals. As the Bucks and Lakers go head-to-head as best in the league, it will certainly be a show for all to enjoy.
The Bucks, who have gone relatively under the radar in comparison to the Lake Show, could gain some much deserved media attention as a victory over the Lakers would add even more legitimacy to their championship potential. The winning team will boast the best record in the NBA, 25-4, while the other will suffer their first set of consecutive losses.
Regardless of the outcome, the Bucks’ goal will remain unchanged; to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Milwaukee.