The Milwaukee Bucks stroll into the Mississippi Delta on a three game winning streak and a season-high five games over .500. Coming off a Saturday night performance that saw the Bucks blast past the Utah Jazz, 117-100, the team will be looking to repeat the deed against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Bucks are heating up as the temperature dips. They have won seven of their last nine contests and have done everything from closing out games strong to getting ahead and staying ahead. Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming off a 37 point, 13 rebound performance against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night and with Anthony Davis’ status in doubt, he should continue to feast on the competition. Over the last nine games, Khris Middleton has lived up to his Khash nickname. In eight of those nine games, Middleton has finished with a field goal percentage greater than 50 percent. The Bucks are absolutely humming along.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe has scored 20 or more points in the last three games and continues to make new fans in Milwaukee with each game. His overall shooting has been less than ideal, 44.7 percent form the field since the trade. Bledsoe has made an instant impact on the defensive end, however, by negating and muscling up on opposing teams’ quick guards. With New Orleans featuring a guard heavy lineup, Bledsoe will have to continue his hard-nosed perimeter defense.
All-Star forward Anthony Davis has been out nursing a left adductor injury and his status for tonight’s contest remains questionable. The Pelicans dropped their Monday night clash in Houston, 130-123 with a depleted roster. The Pelicans are currently Top-10 in the NBA in three-point field goals made, attempted, and percentage converted. New Orleans will provide another test with how the Bucks’ changing defensive scheme holds up.
Player to Watch: DeMarcus Cousins
The big man rotation of John Henson and Thon Maker have struggled against opponents’ beefy bigs and Boogie certainly fits the beefy mold. He adds another wrinkle with his three-point shooting ability (34.6 percent on the season). Cousins’ ability to space out his defender will pull Henson further from the basket and create more lanes for the guard-heavy Pelicans to drive through. With Davis likely out, or limited at best, Cousins will be the offensive focal point for New Orleans.