Two teams with young point guards are currently looking to shake off losing streaks. One team is more veteran and has a bigger payroll with the expectation of competing for the top half of the Eastern Conference. The other team is young and hungry but still has some maturing to do, plus much lower expectations.
Two of the most dynamic young floor generals will face off Friday night when Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks visit Iman Shumpert and the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The latest NBA odds list the Knicks as 5.5 point favorites, while the total sits at 190.5 points.
Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Bucks are 0-8 on the road this year and have lost three games in a row overall, dropping a 105-95 game at home to Denver Tuesday night – the team’s first loss at home this year. Jennings led the way with 30 points and six assists in that ghame and paces the team overall with 18.7 points and 5.1 assists per game. Scott Skiles’ teams are usually known for hard-nosed defensive play and intense effort, but this team has struggled on that side – and even with the acquisition of Stephen Jackson and Mike Dunleavy, the team ranks in the bottom-10 of scoring offense (91.8 ppg). Dunleavy has missed 10 games and Andrew Bogut has missed five already this year, which has cramped the Bucks’ plans.
Knicks have their own struggles, as they lost their fourth straight game in a 91-88 home defeat to Phoenix Wednesday night. While the Bucks have trouble living up to their defensive reputation of recent years, the Knicks’ offensive reputation has been stunted this year, as the Knicks rank just 18 th in the league in scoring (93.5 ppg), despite Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and new acquisition Tyson Chandler on the roster. One positive surprise is the play of rookie Iman Shumpert, who records 12.6 points and 3.1 assists per game and posted a solid 20 points and four steals vs. Phoenix.
The Knicks want to run and score; the Bucks want to be in the half-court. Though both teams need wins, the tempo of this game should be in the Knicks’ favor on their home court. New York’s defense is decent this year, while the Bucks have struggled. Jennings should be fun to watch, but without a consistent No. 2 and.or No. 3 option in the offense, Milwaukee will have a hard time breaking its road slump in the Garden.
Final Score Prediction: Knicks 98, Bucks 90
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