The Milwaukee Bucks host the Denver Nuggets for their first meeting of the season and the last game before the All-Star break. Milwaukee returned home on Tuesday night and secured a closer-than-expected victory over the cellar dweller Atlanta Hawks. It’s Jon McGlocklin’s Legends of the Rafters night, so those Jonny Mac bobble heads will be flying off the staging tables that are set-up on the BMO concourse.
Milwaukee has rebounded a bit from their disappointing loss to the Miami Heat last Friday night. With back-to-back close wins over the Orlando Magic and the Hawks, confidence is not necessarily as high as it was last week. There is reason for optimism as the defense has gone the past six games not allowing the opponent to convert on more than 45 percent of their field goal opportunities. Even in their loss to Miami, the Heat only shot 36 percent from the floor. The offense is a different story as it was never able to get into a groove Tuesday night. KEG combined to score just 50 of Milwaukee’s 97 points and the big man duo of, Thon Maker and Tyler Zeller, helped pick up some of the slack, scoring 12 and 14 points respectively.
Player to Watch: Tony Snell
Snell You Later is in the midst of a season long double figure scoring drought, having failed to score ten or more points in each of his last seven games. He has showed signs of righting his ship over the last three games, however. He is shooting an improved 37.5 percent from three-point range, but has failed to convert inside the arc, going 0/5 from two. Hopefully the pair of threes he knocked down on Tuesday night will springboard him out of his double figure scoring slump.
Denver is coming off a great victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. Denver is a team that does a lot of things average to above-average and few things exceptional. They are averaging 46.4 percent on field foals for the season and will challenge Milwaukee’s current run of holding opponents under 45 percent. Gary Harris and Jamal Murray have been a great back court duo for the Nuggets all season long. Both are capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc (39.1 and 37.8 percent respectively) and they are both averaging over 15 points per game (17.3 and 16.3). These two will provide a challenge to Eric Bledsoe’s ability to impact the game defensively and Milwaukee’s defensive scheme.
Player to Watch: Nikola Jokic
Joker recorded his fourth triple-double of the year on Tuesday night against San Antonio, finishing with a stat line of 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. Beefy, skilled big men have tormented the Bucks all season long, and with John Henson out again with a hamstring injury, Thon and Zeller will be asked to body up Jokic (okay mainly Zeller). Jokic is an absolute vacuum on rebound opportunities as he has averaged nearly 11 boards a game and will look to brush Thon off as he sucks in missed shots.