The Milwaukee Bucks are back home after a brief trip down to the Bayou where they suffered a 115-108 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Tonight the Chicago Bulls are in town for their first matchup of the season against Milwaukee.
A hard fought game whittled away in the final minutes for Milwaukee against New Orleans. The absence of Eric Bledsoe from the clutch lineup seemed to withhold Milwaukee from its usual potency down the stretch. Instead, Boogie and the Brow battered away at Milwaukee until they emerged victorious. Giannis mustered up 32 points, but a 10-33 shooting night for the duo completing his triumvirate was not a great complement. With far less star power backing the Bulls, it should be a better game for all.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Typically I will try to pick someone other than Milwaukee’s chosen one in this slot, but I selected Giannis for a simple reason: history. Early in his career, Giannis made much mention of his struggles against the team from the Windy City. His frustration even boiled over to the point of decking the quite hittable Mike Dunleavy into the stands. He’s grown immensely since then while the once dominant Bulls have been sufficiently castrated. I’m looking forward to Giannis feasting on sirloin for years to come.
What should be the worst possible year record wise Bulls fans could hope for is turning into a nightmare scenario. The return of Nikola Mirotic has fueled a four-game winning streak culminating in a narrow win over the Jazz on Wednesday night. Their recent resurgence doesn’t mean they aren’t still a trainwreck, but they do shoot the 10th most threes in the league (30.1) albeit at the 5th worst clip (34.4%). That shot profile never speaks too well for Milwaukee’s defense, even turned down a notch of late. They have no real dynamism in the backcourt to speak of with Kris Dunn remaining defensively competent/offensively inept and Zach Lavine still out from his ACL tear last year. Bledsoe should look to have a field day while Giannis tears apart the Finnish toothpick, Lauri Markannen. Markannen has missed the last two games with back spasms though. Keep an eye our for Robin Lopez too, a notorious Bucks killer from the midrange.
Player to Watch: Nikola Mirotic
The bearded man is averaging 19.5 points in his four games back, shooting an astounding 52.2% on 5.8 3-point attempts per game. He’s averaged just 25.5 minutes over those appearances, but expect that to tick up if Markannen misses tonight’s tilt. With that production, there’s no reason to leave him off the court. Unless of course Bobby Portis gets in a tizzy.