Ahh, that decimation of the Golden State Warriors sure felt good. Who cares if Stephen Curry had to leave the game early, they still have Kevin freakin’ Durant and Klay Thompson. Hopefully the Milwaukee Bucks are riding on the same fresh vibes as me as they roll into LA to take on the Clippers.
What else is there to say beyond a rousing yahoo in regards to their dismantling of the champs on Thursday night. On an evening when the Bucks shot just 25.7% from beyond the arc, they used their imposing paint presence to haunt the likes of Jordan Bell and Damian Jones. They managed a whopping 84 points down low compared to just 34 for the Warriors, who also turned the ball over 18 times. Milwaukee finding a way to win by a healthy margin, even when their usual offensive weapon is faltering, has to be encouraging for fans.
Player to Watch: Khris Middleton
After a sweet shooting shot for the marksman from Charleston, he’s cooled off rather quickly from beyond the arc. His 45.5% is nothing to sneeze at, particularly on a career-best volume (8 attempts per game), but he was hovering above 50% for the early going. Hopefully this afternoon’s contest gives him a chance to get his potent stroke back.
The frisky Clippers feel like a ragtag group of misfits. Lou Williams, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari. All guys who have bounced around and now congealed into this surprisingly effective squad that could challenge for a Playoff spot this season. Like Milwaukee, they also just felt the sting of Portland with a 116-105 loss, but they’ve also notched two wins already against an, admittedly struggling, Houston squad. The numbers are bearing out well too, they’re sixth in offensive rating and 13th in defensive rating, per NBA.com. While they are attempting the fourth least 3-pointers per game, they’re also third in percentage. They also attempt the third most free throws per game, and lead the league in terms of percentage of points that come from the charity stripe. Both of those bode well for a Bucks team that is susceptible to allowing threes and rarely foul.
Player to Watch: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
I’m just shortening it to SGA for these purposes, but his rapidly rising draft stock and rangy figure had me quite intrigued by his potential in June. It was too bad he couldn’t fall to Milwaukee, but scouts clearly fell in love with his combination of length and point guard skills. He’s still clearly a little under wraps on this team, averaging nine points per game, but not asking too much of him should hopefully help him blossom. I’m looking forward to seeing how he matches up with Milwaukee’s backcourt.
Game 12: Against the Clips, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or less points)
Lose close (by 9 or less points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)