Milwaukee may have squandered a few good feelings in their loss to the Cavaliers last night 116-97, but that doesn’t mean they can pick them right back up with a win over Portland tonight at home in the BMO once more.
Milwaukee is going to the beat of Giannis’ drum at this point, and although he put up a gaudy stat line in Cleveland last night (34, 8 and 8), the Bucks failed to secure a win. With much of his supporting cast playing the game in incognito mode, Giannis wasn’t likely to tear up the class of the East even at a much-anticipated home opener. They’ll hope to get back on track tonight against an undefeated Portland squad.
Player to Watch: Khris Middleton
Khris was a relative no-show against the Cavaliers last night, posting just 8 points and hoisting up just 10 shots on the night. He’s started the season just 1-10 from 3-point land as well, an indication he should be due for a correction relatively soon. Milwaukee needs their second-best player to play like it if they hope to ascend in the East, but Portland has several rangy wings who loom as decent matchups against the struggling K-Midd. Hopefully he can break out of this early swoon and splash home a few jumpers.
Portland obliterated the Phoenix Suns with a literally historic win, notching the largest opening night margin of victory in NBA history at 48 points. Their 124-76 victory blacked out the Suns offensively, while Pat Connaughton of all people stepped up for a 24-point explosion to complement the usual Dame Lillard 27-point outburst. C.J. McCollum returned from a one-game suspension to aid in the Blazers win over the Indiana Pacers last night 114-96.
Player to Watch: Damian Lillard
Dame is one of the quickest triggers in the league, capable of turning defender’s ankles to mush and finishing capably at the rim. His 3-point propensity off the dribble might be bested only by Stephen Curry, and he hit 37% of his 7.7 attempts per-36 from deep last year. With his backcourt buddy back, he and McCollum form a lethal duo gunning from the outside. Snell and Brogdon will have their hands full trying to contain these two on the perimeter, and Milwaukee’s bigs will have to be alert on every switch to avoid pristine Portland looks.