I’ll take one more of those please as the Bucks head to the Big Apple for a rematch against The Zinger’s crew.
Milwaukee let a Brooklyn Nets team back into the game in the third quarter on Super Bowl Sunday, but survived a late ankle injury to Giannis to pull the game out. Eric Bledsoe’s shot finally started falling again after suffering through a wintry spell of ice-cold shooting. His 28 points combined with the 19-point, 18-rebound game from John Henson dominated a Nets squad that far outplays the piddly talent they have on the roster. Milwaukee will need Henson to be a board beast again tonight, especially after Enes Kanter went off for 18 rebounds of his own last Friday night. They may also have some backup in that regard, as the Bucks traded for Brooklyn’s Tyler Zeller late last night. No word yet on whether he will be with the team for tonight’s game, nor do we have confirmation on who will lead the pregame huddle in Rashad Vaughn’s absence. Matthew Dellavedova is also listed as out after the ankle injury he suffered sent him back to Milwaukee for additional tests, which reportedly resulted in a right ankle sprain that will shelve him for 3-4 weeks. Meanwhile Giannis is listed as probable with that ankle issue he suffered against Brooklyn.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe’s shooting slump finally snapped on Sunday, although not necessarily because he found any sort of more efficient approach. It was still a steady diet of tough to choke down midrange jumpers and early shot clock launches from deep, but at least this time they went in. Bledsoe took a significant backseat last Friday night, attempting just eight shots for seven points against the Knicks while Giannis carried the brunt of the scoring burden. Depending on whether Giannis hobbled at all by the ankle injury he suffered late against the Nets, Bledsoe may need to step up again tonight against the rookie defense of Frank Ntilikina.
Apparently the Knicks forgot to pick up their heart after Giannis ripped it out on Friday, because there certainly wasn’t any shown by them in losing to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, 99-96. Even a close win against the tanktastic Hawks would be embarrassing enough, but dropping any sort of contest to the second-worst team in the league is pretty pitiful. Porzingis did post a defensively stellar line though, with 22 points, eight rebounds, four steals and five blocks. The Knicks have dropped back significantly in the playoff hunt and assuredly have revenge on their mind tonight in the Garden.
Player to Watch: Michael Beasley
The Beas isn’t New York’s best player. He might not even be their best bench player. But I’ll be damned if his general glee at the return of Jabari Parker last Friday night wasn’t one of the most joyous moments of the season. His particularly workmanlike approach to scoring is generally quite delightful, even if it borders on chucking at points. Regardless, there’s something quite calming about Beas working his way into the post at his own pace before dropping in a floater. Let’s just hope those moments of tranquility are few and far between.