Milwaukee vs. Denver, 04/01/2018 20:00 EDT, Score: 125 - 128

Point Spread: +4/-105 Milwaukee

Sportsbook: Bodog

Result: Win

The set-up: The 41-35 Milwaukee Bucks are well clear of ninth-place Detroit after a 124-122 overtime victory against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday. However, the Bucks are jockeying for position with Washington and Miami for the final three playoff spots in the East. Milwaukee currently owns the No. 7 seed, one game back of Washington and only a half-game ahead of the Heat. The Nuggets may have a similar 41-35 record to that of the Bucks, but as they begin a three-game homestand Sunday against Milwaukee, Denver sits two games behind Utah and New Orleans, who are tied for seventh and own the final two postseason spots in the Western Conference. The the Nuggets have a favorable schedule down the stretch but so do the Jazz and Pelicans.

Milwaukee: Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.3-10.0-4.8) recorded 27 points and 16 rebounds Friday, giving him five 25-point, 15-rebound games this season, second-most in the Eastern Conference to Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (six). Eric Bledsoe (17.7-3.9-4.9) added 39 points and is averaging 24 over his last four games. Swingman Middleton (20.3 & 5.2) had 28 points, as Milwaukee's version of a "Big 3" combined for 94 points against LA. Jabari is averaging a modest 11.0 & 4.1 in his 25 games back but is showing progress. Meanwhile, John Henson (8.8 & 6.9) remains day-to-day after missing his second straight game Friday with a finger injury plus Malcolm Brogdon (13.3 points) has missed the last 26 games with a quad injury but is working his way toward a return before the regular season ends.

Denver: The Nuggets continue to play without their second-leading scoer Gary Harris (17.7), who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury. "Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to see him for a while,'' Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told the Denver Post. "Just being completely honest. Obviously, I am not a doctor, but in talking to our training staff, Gary has been working hard to get back, but I think he is still a ways away.'' Denver features six double digit scorers even without Harris, led by center Jokic (17.8 & 10.6). He's followed by guard Murray (16.5), swingman Barton (15.2-4.9-4.1) and now healthy PF Millsap (14.8 & 6.3)).

The pick: Jokic is an under-the-radar star, who has 14 triple-doubles since the start of the 2016-17 season, fourth-most in the NBA behind Russell Westbrook (65), LeBron James (29) and James Harden (25).
Denver has won seven straight at home versus Milwaukee but the odds to make the playoffs are stacked against the Nuggets. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has shown its mettle with a 17-12 record versus the West this season. The 17 wins are tied for second-most among Eastern Conference teams with Philadelphia, behind only Toronto (19). I'll make Milwaukee an 8* play, as Denver's playoff hopes take a YUGE hit!

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