The Milwaukee Bucks' post-All Star break chase of the Boston Celtics resumes on Friday.
The Bucks are a game back of the Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference after Boston’s 122-118 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. Milwaukee hosts the Miami Heat on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) and can pull within a half-game of the Celtics with their 13th consecutive win.
Boston currently sits at 43-17 and has the best record in the NBA. The Bucks are 41-17 and the Denver Nuggets lead the Western Conference at 42-18 after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road on Thursday night.
The Bucks are just 1.5-point favorites over the Heat because it’s unlikely Giannis Antetokounmpo will play. The Bucks’ star is listed as doubtful for the game because of the right wrist sprain he suffered in the team’s last game before the break. Giannis was a team captain in the All-Star Game and started but left after scoring the game’s first points.
Milwaukee is so close to Boston because of a 12-game win streak before the break. Milwaukee last lost over a month ago when it fell 114-102 at the Cavaliers. Giannis didn’t play in that game.
Miami, meanwhile, can move into a tie for sixth in the East with a win. The Heat are a half game back of the New York Knicks for the final guaranteed playoff spot and are 2.5 games back of the Brooklyn Nets for fifth in the conference.
The Heat are also closer to fifth than they are to eighth. The Atlanta Hawks are three games back of the Heat in eighth as they search for a new coach.
Other NBA action
There are seven other NBA games on Friday night and the second game of the ESPN doubleheader features the Oklahoma City Thunder on the second leg of a back-to-back at the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are still waiting on Kevin Durant, though Durant could make his Suns’ debut next week. The Suns are 7.5-point favorites in this game, though the Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA against the spread.
The Golden State Warriors are also playing for the second time in two days. They’re hosting the Houston Rockets after a road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors are 9.5-point favorites. That’s the biggest line of any game on Friday night.
The Honda Classic doesn’t feature many PGA Tour big names as it sits between designated events on the tour. But there are still some recognizable names at the top of the board after the first round. Sungjae Im is the favorite to win at +550 while Billy Horschel is at +600. Shane Lowry is the No. 3 favorite at +1000. Horschel is tied for the lead after shooting a 5-under 65 while Im shot a 67 and Lowry shot a 68.
Friday EPL action
Surprising Fulham hosts a Wolves team that needs a win on Friday (3 p.m. ET, USA) in the English Premier League. Fulham is +150 to win the game while Wolves is at +190 and the tie is at +210. Fulham will be a point outside the top four with a victory while a win for Wolves puts them six points above the relegation zone.
Who cashed bets Thursday?
The Lakers looked great in their 124-111 win over the Warriors while the Mavericks got a huge 142-116 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Sixers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 110-105 at home and the Raptors covered by a half point in a 115-110 win over the Pelicans to pull within two games of .500.