The Milwaukee Bucks have had their All-Star duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the floor together for just seven games this season due to injury or rest management. The team is 4-3 in those games. Both are listed as probable for Monday night's matchup at the Detroit Pistons, who are 11-point underdogs at Caesars Sportsbook after something of a mini-bye week because they last played in Paris last Thursday. Giannis is set at over/under of 28.5 points tonight but, but there are no Middleton props yet.
Middleton got a late start to the season due to offseason wrist surgery and then lasted only the seven games before going back on the injury report. He didn't look great in that handful of games, averaging just 11.1 points on 32.5% shooting. He last played Dec. 15. Middleton averaged at least 20 points per game in the previous three seasons and four of the past five. In theory, he could become a free agent after this year but with all those injury problems, it's all but a guarantee he picks up his $40.3 million player option for 2023-24.
Antetokounmpo hasn't played since Jan. 11, which has hurt his chances to win a third straight MVP a bit. The Greek Freak was favored at one point this season but is now a +1000 fifth favorite at Caesars behind Nikola Jokic (-120), Luka Doncic (+325), Jayson Tatum (+500) and Joel Embiid (+800). There's still plenty of time to make up ground, though.
Giannis is averaging 31.0 points on 52.4% shooting, 11.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists. In NBA history, a player has averaged at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while shooting 50% from the field only three other times – and not since the 1972-73 season. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it then for the Bucks, and Wilt Chamberlain accomplished it twice in the 1960s. Tonight will be only the fifth time that Giannis, Middleton and the team's other star, Jrue Holiday, have all played in the same game this season.
Detroit recorded its third straight loss and sixth in the past seven last Thursday, a 126-108 defeat by Chicago in the Paris Global Game. Center Isaiah Stewart (11.6 points, 8.1 rebounds) is out Monday with shoulder soreness. Point guard Killian Hayes (9.8 points, 5.8 assists) is questionable. Hayes has 64 assists over his last eight games, the most in any eight-game stretch in his career.
The Bucks are 2-0 in the season series with both wins coming at home on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. Antetokounmpo totaled 63 points in them. Milwaukee also has won seven straight games in Detroit, dating to the 2018-19 season. The team is 15-1 overall against the Pistons since that time, its best record against any opponent in the Mike Budenholzer era.
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