The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a would-be blockbuster between the patched-up LA Lakers and slumping Milwaukee Bucks. 

NBA Tips – Los Angeles Lakers V Milwaukee Bucks

13:00 (AEDT), Thu 1st Apr @ Staples Center, Los Angeles

History: Played 155: Lakers 89 V Bucks 66

Last meeting: January 21, 2021: Lakers 113 d Bucks 106 at Fiserv Forum

Final Thoughts: The depleted LA Lakers are $4 home underdogs against Eastern Conference heavyweights Milwaukee Bucks.

With Anthony Davis and now LeBron James sidelined, the 30-17 Lakers have slipped to fourth in the West. The Nuggets and Trail Blazers are closing in fast.

But after four straight losses, the Lakers have rallied with back-to-back home wins over the Cavaliers (100-86) and Magic (96-93) in recent days. Montrezl Harrell (24 pts, 10 reb) was superb off the bench against the Cavs, while Kyle Kuzma (21 pts, 11 reb) and Dennis Schroder (24 pts, 6 ast) stepped up to thwart the Magic. Harrell (18 pts, 11 reb) was again influential from the bench against Orlando.

The Lakers have acquired big man Andre Drummond, who will start in his franchise debut.

Bucks in a hole

The 29-17 Bucks are striving to bust out of a three-game slide. They have been disappointing in losses to the Celtics (122-114), Knicks (102-96) and Clippers (129-105).

The Bucks led the Clippers by 12 at the end of the first quarter but were swamped thereafter. The efforts of Giannis Antetokounmpo (32 pts, 6 ast) and Jrue Holiday (24 pts, 7 ast) couldn’t halt the onslaught.

After six straight losses in the rivalry, the Lakers have won their last two against the Bucks. LeBron (34 pts, 6 reb, 8 ast) outgunned Giannis (25 pts, 12 reb) in a 113-106 result in Milwaukee in January.

The absence of James, in particular, leaves the Lakers as hefty outsiders. But it’s worth acknowledging the Bucks are just 11-10 on the road – and just 7-14 against the line. The Lakers are 16-10 at home (11-15 ATS).

The Lakers have shown enough fight without their marquee duo to consider backing with a sizeable start.

Tip: Handicap – Lakers +8.5 @ $1.90

OTHER NBA GAMES

TEAMS
Detroit Pistons V Portland Trail BlazersHandicap – Trail Blazers -7.5 @ $1.90
Indiana Pacers V Miami HeatResult – Heat @ $1.78
Brooklyn Nets V Houston RocketsHandicap – Nets -12.5 @ $1.90
Boston Celtics V Dallas MavericksResult – Celtics @ $1.87
Memphis Grizzlies V Utah JazzHandicap – Jazz -5.5 @ $1.87
Oklahoma City Thunder V Toronto RaptorsHandicap – Thunder +8.5 @ $1.87
Minnesota Timberwolves V New York KnicksHandicap – Knicks -3.5 @ $1.90
San Antonio Spurs V Sacramento KingsResult – Spurs @ $1.70
Phoenix Suns V Chicago BullsHandicap – Suns @ $1.87