Fresh off a come-from-behind victory to start the season against the Houston Rockets, the Milwaukee Bucks will open up Fiserv Forum against the upstart Miami Heat. Having undergone a major roster overhaul this offseason, Miami has aspirations that could lead these two teams to square off again after the regular season concludes, while the Bucks seek to redeem themselves, game by game, from blowing a chance at making the NBA Finals last year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, despite his 30-point triple-double to open the season, caught some flak for having a somewhat slow start and for fouling out of the game (on what may have been a questionable call) with over 5 minutes left. Still, the reigning NBA MVP was able to enjoy the W, as Wes Matthews, Ersan Ilyasova, and Brook Lopez guided the Bucks down the home stretch of the Houston contest. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton had a somewhat rough outing, as did...
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
The Bledshow made a limited impact in game 1, struggling with early foul trouble (and possibly lingering effects of his rib cartilage injury?) limiting him to just over 16 minutes of playing time. Bledsoe’s contributions as a playmaker and perimeter defender aren’t going to be as easily patched over by he Bucks’ depth, so this hometown contest should be a good opportunity to get back on track.
There’s a lot going on in Miami! Jimmy Butler, the Heat’s new alpha, will miss this game due to the birth of his child. (Congrats!) Dion Waiters, the Heat’s old alpha (in his mind, anyway), will also not be available for...reasons. James Johnson, the Heat’s “Giannis-stopper,” has yet to suit up after not meeting Pat Riley’s famous training camp expectations. Goran Dragic, a legitimately interesting player, will lead the bench unit, and you know what that means...
Player to Watch: Tyler Herro
Herro was a superhero (sorry, not sorry) in the preseason, but didn’t shine as brightly as Justise Winslow or undrafted rookie Kendrick Nunn in the Heat’s win against Memphis. And while Herro doesn’t think his return to his hometown is all that significant, Milwaukee fans are notorious for welcoming back prodigal sons, even if only for a visit. Plus, he’s an exciting player on his own; how will the Bucks’ defense constrain him?
Game 2: Against Miami, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)