After failing to pick up a win in Orlando on Friday and Charlotte on Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks return home to face the Denver Nuggets aiming to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Bucks (6-11) have lost eight of their last 10 games overall and six straight on the road. Luckily, a matchup at home should be beneficial despite coming off an embarrassing 129-118 loss last Wednesday to the Sacramento Kings. Milwaukee came out victorious in their last two games at home before that, defeating Detroit (8-9) and Cleveland (13-4).
Head coach Jason Kidd switched his starting lineup around and benched Michael Carter-Williams and Jabari Parker for Sunday's game vs. the Hornets. Kidd noted that the reason behind his move was to try something else out and to get more shooters on the floor. With MCW and Parker sitting, Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo were in, while Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo each slid down with Greg Monroe still at center. Kidd definitely got more shooting from the two, but not efficiently: Bayless and Mayo combined to go 9-of-27 from the field and 4-of-17 from deep. Each player logged over 43 minutes on the night while MCW played just 16 (three points, four rebounds and two dimes) and Parker only 17 (10 points and seven rebounds). Parker missed the Bucks' last game against Denver because of back-to-back restrictions, and there's a chance we might not see him in this one, either.
For tonight, Kidd could be toying with another lineup, one that might include Greivis Vasquez, instead. After missing the game in Charlotte due to a sore right ankle, Vasquez could be inserted with the starters to play alongside Bayless, Middleton, Giannis and Monroe. The Bucks have used that lineup combination in nine games, but merely just for a total of 3.5 minutes on the floor. If Bayless continues his nice start from the field and unreal hot streak from deep (he's hit 37 threes in November, surpassing Brandon Jennings (33) and Ray Allen (31) for most in the month in team-history) and Vasquez can operate the offense well, this might not be the worst.
Vasquez took a lot of heat to begin the season because of his horrid shooting numbers, but there's no denying the fact that he's been a better facilitator than MCW thus far. This season, Vasquez is averaging a team-best seven assists per 36 minutes and 10 assists per 100 possessions. He's forced less shots compared to earlier in the season with less of them bouncing out of the rim.
It's pretty apparent that this lineup switch isn't going to last long considering we're only 17 games in. The reason for Carter-Williams' benching was because he was struggling mentally, per Kidd, and that should be something he fixes in the coming days. But when he eventually gets his job back, will he have a bigger impact on the floor than those who are currently replacing him? Time will tell.
The Nuggets face the Bucks following a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. Led by Deron Williams' 22 points and former Buck Zaza Pachulia scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, the Mavs broke open a steady game, outscoring the Nuggets 22-5 in the third period. That's four points less than what the Bucks scored in that same quarter against the Hornets. Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay chipped in 12 points (5-of-15 shooting, though), five rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.
When the Bucks faced the Nuggets on Nov. 11, a late tip by Kenneth Faried in the final seconds helped Denver prevail at home, 103-102. But overall since then, Denver (6-11) has fallen flat, losing six straight games with all of those losses coming against Western Conference teams. It was a brutal stretch for the Nuggets (Spurs twice, Clippers, Warriors, Suns, Mavs) who are certainly more than happy to see an Eastern Conference team, especially a team struggling like Milwaukee. It's important to note that in three of those games, the Nuggets were without Faried, who missed time due a an ankle injury.
Denver recently discovered that Wilson Chandler will miss the entire season following offseason hip surgery. Guard Gary Harris (concussion) is unlikely to play Monday evening, while Jusuf Nurkic remains out due to a surgically repaired left patellar tendon. The Nuggets are working center Joffrey Lauvergne back into the rotation.
The Nuggets' two main threats of offensive production remain Mudiay and veteran Danilo Gallinari. Mudiay is scoring 12.2 points per game while handing out a solid 5.9 assists per. Gallinari remains a big threat for the Bucks from deep (4.5 attempts per) on top of averaging 17.7 points per contest on a scorching 55.3 percent true shooting. If the Bucks want to bump their league-worst 38.6 rebounds per game mark (69.5 rebounding percentage), Faried and J.J. Hickson are a tough threat for them to do so.
On the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs | Denver Post
|15/16 NBA Season|
|November 30, 2015|
|BMO Harris Bradley Center |Milwaukee|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|Emmanuel Mudiay||PG||Jerryd Bayless|
|Randy Foye||SG||O.J. Mayo|
|Danilo Gallinari||SF||Khris Middleton|
|Kenneth Faried||PF||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|Nikola Jokic||C||Greg Monroe|
|15/16 Advanced Stats|
|102.5 (17th)||Pace||91.6 (29th)|
|114.4 (8th)||ORtg||100.9 (19th)|
|117.8 (20th)||DRtg||103.6 (15th)|