The Milwaukee Bucks will host the defending Eastern Conference champions at the BMO Harris Bradley center tonight in their home opener. The game will be played on national television on ESPN. Both teams have already played and defeated the Boston Celtics earlier this week.
It’s all good vibes for Milwaukee as the Bucks battled and won a hard fought game against the Celtics Wednesday with a score 108-100. Giannis Antetokounmpo started his MVP candidacy off strong racking up 37 points, 16 of them in the fourth quarter, and 13 rebounds while trying to end Aaron Baynes’ career.
The @NBA's Dunk of the Night belongs to @Giannis_An34!!#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/AyblBLw2ki— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 19, 2017
Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova outplayed Kyrie Irving and hit some big threes in the fourth quarter as the Celtics made a late charge. This is the first of a three-game home stand to start the season and tonight’s game, if you haven’t heard already, will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Player to Watch: Khris Middleton
Khris had a great first half looking mobile and active which led to him having 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. Khris also was carrying the playmaking role while Giannis was battling foul trouble in the first quarter. However, it seemed his second half was the opposite. Khris had some sloppy turnovers in the third quarter and struggled with his shot in the fourth especially when he airballed a corner three and missed an open three near the end of the game. Most of that can be attributed to fatigue given Kidd running him ragged in the second half, but Khris is the third best player in tonight’s game and the Bucks will need him to play like it.
Cleveland had an interesting offseason with their GM David Griffin leaving and hiring Koby Altman as his replacement. The big trade of Kyrie Irving for Isisah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Net’s 2018 first round pick sent shockwaves not just with the Cavaliers, but throughout the whole league. With Thomas battling a hip injury, Cleveland will need to rely on Derrick Rose to handle the starting point guard duties. Cleveland also added Banana boat member Dwyane Wade to the mix as well. Cleveland were able to hold off Boston in their first match winning 102-99. With the Gordan Hayward injury, Cleveland seems once again as the presumed favorites in the Eastern Conference so long as LeBron James is healthy.
Player to Watch: Kevin Love
We all know LeBron will play really well and be a matchup nightmare. However with Thomas sidelined, Lebron doesn’t have a dynamic secondary scorer at his side anymore following Kyrie’s departure. With the new personnel moves, Love has been pointed to as the team’s center. Love didn’t impact much of the game against Boston scoring only 15 points on 4/9 shooting, but was able to hit his only three to give Cleveland a four-point lead in the waning moments. If Love gets hot, his ability to stretch the floor will help players like Rose or Wade who need to be able to drive to the basket to be effective.
And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out today’s Locked On Bucks episode: