After getting manhandled to the tune of a 16-point loss to the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee is faced with a task they’ve been able to reliably complete this season: don’t lose two games in a row. Indiana’s defense was too much last time, and the Cavaliers’ 30th ranked defense should provide a welcome relief to the Bucks’ recent struggling offense.
Player to Watch: Khris Middleton
If you’ve been living off the grid, Middleton is stuck in a miserable – albeit relatively short – shooting slump lately, and Bucks fans have not been happy about it.
Middleton is obviously mired in a shooting slump at the moment.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) December 13, 2018
Since scoring 21 points against the Spurs, he's hit just 29-of-99 (29.3%) and 14-of-48 (29.2%) from deep in his last 7 games.
He was obviously asked about it tonight, so here is a thread of notable quotes:
Our very own Brian Sampson took a crack at diagnosing Middleton’s struggles earlier today, and everyone is hoping that his cold streak is snapped soon. After all, there’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg thing going on between him and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has also struggled lately.
In the last 5 games, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 11.8 FGA, 5.5 FTA and a USG% of 21.2 per game.— Dean Maniatt (@AllTheBucks) December 13, 2018
The Bucks' offense in that timespan has an OffRtg of 102.4, 26th in the league.
On the health side of things, it appears that the Bucks are at full strength: Giannis has recovered from his neck soreness, and none of Ersan Ilyasova, Pat Connaughton, or Donte DiVincenzo have been listed on any recent injury reports.
Don’t look now, but the Cavs come into tonight’s game having won two out of their last three, with victories coming against the < squints > Washington Wizards and New York Knicks! As predicted, LeBron James’ departure left the cupboard bare, and injuries haven’t been any kinder. Cavs fans are already looking towards the trade deadline and the draft, and while rookie Collin Sexton and forward Cedi Osman have shown some promise, the Cavaliers are very much a rebuilding franchise. We will, however, get a healthy dose of Delly, as Matthew Dellavedova has been welcomed back with open arms since last week’s trade.
Cleveland’s front court is paper-thin tonight, as Tristan Thompson (foot), Kevin Love (also foot), and John Henson (WE MISS YOU HOOK) are all out for the Cavs.
Player to Watch: Rodney Hood
After a miserable 2017-18 season, Hood is playing on the qualifying offer and very much looking for his next contract. His 12.8 points/game have been relatively efficient (0.229 free throw rate, a career high), and he and Jordan Clarkson have competed for perimeter touches for the Cavs. If the Bucks fail to goad him into taking midrange jumpers, Hood could heat up and make life difficult for Milwaukee.
Game 28: Against Cleveland, the Bucks will...
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