The league’s top two teams as far as records will clash for the second and final time during the 2019-20 NBA season as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Milwaukee Bucks.
This also marks a showdown between the two NBA Most Valuable Player award frontrunners as Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James square off.
The first game between these two was a huge clash, but it was the Bucks getting the win thanks in large part to Antetokounmpo knocking down five threes on his way to a 34-point, 11-rebound, and seven-assist night. Additionally, the Bucks outrebounded the Lakers, turned the ball over five fewer times, and hit four more three-pointers.
Defense will be the key in this contest as that is where each team shines. Milwaukee leads the league in defensive rating and defensive rebounding and use that to push the pace offensively. The Lakers lead the league in blocks while also ranking in the top-five in steals and offensive rebounds, also using their defensive prowess to push their offense.
Obviously, the focus will be on the All-Star players as Antetokounmpo, James, and Anthony Davis will garner plenty of attention, but Khris Middleton will also play a huge role for the Bucks. He is shooting 43 percent from three-point range and always has the potential to take over a game with his deep range and size on the wing.
Controlling the paint could also go a long ways in determining the winner. The Lakers and Bucks are second and fourth respectively in points in the paint and as was noted earlier, the Bucks limit second chances on the glass while the Lakers usually thrive there. The center matchup pitting JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard against Brook and Robin Lopez will be worth watching.
Lastly, both teams employ a deep rotation with numerous players capable of making a big impact on any given night.
Wesley Matthews, George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, Pat Connaughton, and Marvin Williams all bring something different, but are all dangerous on either end of the floor. The Lakers will need Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Alex Caruso to match or exceed the Bucks deep roster of role players.
In the end, however, it usually comes down to the All-Star players. Many believe the Lakers need Davis to be the primary player for the Lakers down the stretch to reach their full potential, but whether it is he or James taking over, someone will need to outduel Antetokounmpo if the Lakers plan on getting a win.
Los Angeles Lakers (47-13) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (53-9)
7:30 P.M. PT, Mar. 6, 2020
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris, Alex Caruso
Projected Bucks Starting Lineup:
PG: Eric Bledsoe
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez
Key Reserves: Donte DiVincenzo, George Hill, Robin Lopez, Pat Connaughton, Marvin Williams