Did anyone else feel the ground shake just now? That’s because the Earth is still shaking from the Bucks’ incredible 108-105 OT victory over Detroit on Friday night. What a game that was and what an atmosphere that crowd was. It should be close to a sellout once again for today’s matinee action, as the Dallas Mavericks are in town for their lone appearance of the season.
I think it’s time we can officially say playoff atmosphere is back in the city of Milwaukee. What’s stopping us? The Bucks are absolutely on fire right now, having won 14 of their last 17. It’s been a thrill to watch. The excitement is at all-time high. They closed out March with their 14th win of the month. It’s been a while since that stat was last achieved. You’d have to go back all the way back to February of 1971, and we all know what happened that year!
Also, it turns out that you can cheer for the Bulls and have good things happen. That’s what occurred yesterday when Chicago narrowly defeated Atlanta, granting a game of separation between the Bucks and Hawks for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
You can’t provide an update on the Bucks for today’s preview without addressing the play of Thon Maker (Remember how LARRY SANDERS! was a thing? I vote for THON MAKER! to become a thing) The rookie has been sensational as of late and unleashed his most productive game of the season against Detroit, posting a career-high 23 points. When it was all done and dusted, Maker’s stat line read 9-of-12 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from deep. Pretty good for a first-year player. Thon is becoming a Milwaukee folk hero and I couldn’t be any happier.
This will be the Bucks’ second and final time matching up with Dallas this year. They crumbled to them all the way back on Nov. 6, which seems like eons ago. Remember that game? Yeah, it was the one where Harrison Barnes exploded for a career high in points and was just unconscious from the floor, as the Bucks fell, 86-75.
On Friday’s preview, you’ll remember I linked a video to the ELECTRIC Stu Feiner and compared his confidence to that of which the Bucks were (and still are) currently exhibiting. Well, I’ll end the Bucks update to this post with another video of Stu hollering and screaming about his parlays. Just like how Stu doesn’t care about what anyone thinks of his bets, the Bucks don’t care about whoever they play. They just win and should win tonight against a disappointing Dallas team.
John Henson and Malcolm Brogdon are both questionable going into this game, with Matthew Dellavedova filling in as the presumptive replacement in the starting lineup.
It’s been a looooooooong and dreary year for the Dallas Mavericks. A team that’s been so accustomed to make the playoffs year in and year out failed to meet expectations this season. Not only are they well out of postseason contention with their 31-44 record, but this is a team that’s been struggling as of late. They’ve lost five of their last six — the only victory coming against the Clippers.
The Mavs score only 97.9 points per game. Where does that rank, you ask? Well, you got it — dead last in the league. Outside of Harrison Barnes (who averages 19.4 points per game), they just don’t boast any consistent threats. Dirk comes in second in scoring at 14.3 points, but Wes Matthews might be the guy the Bucks will need to watch out for. While he’s only averaging 13.8 points, his shot has the capability of getting hot at a moment’s notice.
Fun fact: Wes Matthews played my alma mater high school (Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln) in the state basketball tournament back in 2005. He torched us for 32 points. We were undefeated coming into the game too, but Wes and Madison Memorial were too much to handle.
Anyway, back to the Mavs. What they lack on offense, they make up for on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas boasts the fourth best defensive point total in the league at 100.3 points per game, behind only Utah, San Antonio and Memphis.
An area of the game to keep an eye on will be turnovers. It got pretty ugly at one point for the Bucks on Friday night, where miscommunication and bad passes combined for a sour outcome. Hopefully it’s not too big of a problem this afternoon, but there’s the potential for it to be. Dallas creates the fifth most turnovers per game in the league at 14.6. But let’s just cross our fingers that the Bucks cruise out front and don’t have to play in any high leverage scenarios that might induce those silly gaffes.
Seth Curry is dealing with a shoulder injury, and will not likely play for Dallas this afternoon.
Here’s hoping for the Bucks making a triumphant return to .500!