NBA Saturday January 7 Preview: Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks & Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies

Milwaukee v NY Knicks | Saturday, January 7, Noon (AEDT), BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee

The ‘Greek-Freak’ will again take centre stage when the Bucks (18-16, 11-7 home) minus Aussie star Matthew Dellavedova, take on Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks (16-19, 5-12 away) for the second time in four days.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (pictured above) was the star in the last match-up when the fourth year forward finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds including the match-winning ‘J’ on the buzzer as the Bucks won 105-104 in New York.

The 15th pick out of the 2013 NBA draft is widely projected to be one of the NBA’s biggest stars with some judges including Bucks coach Jason Kidd predicting he’ll enjoy a Hall of Fame career. 

Teammates love his work ethic and humbleness and his ability to score from anywhere with his length and athleticism.

Dellavedova (pictured above), who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, recently received his Championship ring when the Bucks visited Cleveland.

The popular Aussie was mobbed by LeBron James and his former teammates in scenes reminiscent of their memorable triumph over the Warriors last year.

While the Bucks will look to the Greek Freak for their offensive punch, the Knicks will again rely on ageless star Carmelo Anthony (pictured below) to shoulder the scoring burden.

Melo logged a near triple double against the Bucks, hitting 10 of 23, to go along with 11 rebounds and 7 assists for a team-high 30 points.

The Knicks will also be hoping for another huge lift from reserve small forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas who logged a season-high 15 points off the bench in 19 minutes.

The Verdict

Not much between these teams and there could be a single possession in this one as there was in New York.

Bucks are a modest 11-7 at home but the Knicks could be without Kristaps Porzingis, whose status is uncertain after missing the Knicks’ last three games with injury.

Antetokounmpo is primed for another game and without Porzingis, the Knicks look a little light in the front court.

There were no available odds at the time of writing, but check back closer to tip-off for a full range of markets.

Tip: Milwaukee 

Golden State v Memphis | Saturday, January 7, 2.30pm (AEDT), ORACLE Arena, Oakland

Playing the Golden State Warriors, winners of four straight and 11 of their past 12, is a daunting task for anyone but the Memphis Grizzlies have every reason to feel optimistic of inflicting a rare defeat on the 2014-15 champions.

The Griz (22-16, 9-9 away) are one of only five teams to have beaten the Warriors this season and they’ll draw on their 110-89 triumph in the first of their four-game series against Steve Kerr’s men as they head into Oakland.

Beating the Warriors though at Oracle is another challenge in itself, with the Warriors 9-0 in their last nine games there and 16-2 overall this season.

The new year hasn’t been a good one for the Griz, who are 0-2 in the midst of a four-game trip to the west.

Centre Marc Gasol (pictured above) acknowledging after their most recent 115-106 defeat to the Clippers that ‘’defensive breakdowns’’ cost them dearly especially off the dribble.

Second half fade-outs could be a sign of fatigue and that was particularly evident in their loss to the Clippers where they surrendered a 63-53 lead at half-time. 

Kevin Durant and the Warriors continue to find ways of scoring and the team is averaging 116.3 PPG in their last 12 games and not surprisingly, have three players in Durant (25.9 PPG), Steph Curry (24.2 PPG) and Klay Thompson (21.5 PPG) averaging more than 21 points per game. 

The Verdict

We know the Warriors can score so the challenge for the Griz will be rectifying their defensive breakdowns to put the brakes on the upstart Warriors.

The Griz have already conceded 115 and 116 points in their two games in the new year and it’s hard to see how the Griz can muzzle the Warriors’ juggernaut. Warriors to roll here.

Unibet Odds: Golden State 1.07 Memphis 10.50

Tip: Golden State

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