It may not be the highest quality but basketball is back. The Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Utah Jazz in their second preseason game this year. While most of the important players sat out of Milwaukee’s 122-112 win against the Chicago Bulls, it sounds like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Ersan Ilyasova will all be playing tonight.
Giannis said he doesn’t know if he will play in tomorrow’s preseason home opener. If Bud tells him he’s playing, then he’s playing. We spoke to Bud after and he said it’s likely that the guys who sat yesterday are likely to play tomorrow.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) October 8, 2019
It seems Mike Budenholzer wasn’t all that interested in seeing how his starters would fare against a hapless Bulls squad that still lost to the Bucks B-team. The LoBros were a twin tandem not to be trifled with all evening, pick-and-rolling the Bulls to death en route to 27 points working from both inside and outside the arc. Robin nailing a triple was predictable, yes, but still encouraging to see. Let’s hope there’s plenty more where that came from. It was a balanced scoring effort across the board, but Dragan Bender acquitted himself well against a Bulls frontcourt with some garbage buckets off the rim. The primary ball handling duties were an interesting concoction between the few guards vying for backup minutes there. If the starters play tonight, we should be in store for a few more entertaining highlights to crow about.
For what it’s worth, the pregame notes do list both Sterling Brown (right quad contusion) and Ersan Ilyasova (left hip tightness) as probable. D.J. Wilson is out.
Player to Watch: Donte DiVincenzo
Last year’s Lost Man had some flashes of impressive passing and playmaking ability against Chicago. He’s got some chops to be certain, but until he’s able to do better than 1/7 from the floor, it’ll be tough for him to really make an impact as a backup ball handler on this team. I’m not sure why his shot continues to be so cold, despite his form looking pretty solid. Rashad Vaughn Syndrome?
Coming off another stellar regular season, Quin Snyder and company upgraded their arsenal this offseason with the acquisition of Mike Conley. He’ll take some of the pressure off Donovan Mitchell as a primary creator, and form a competent triumvirate with Rudy Gobert at the rim. Bud was able to almost entirely neutralize Gobert by getting him to play in space during the Bucks last regular season contest against the Jazz, but don’t expect to see the big guns get any run. The Jazz rested most of their primary guys in favor of giving the young guys some playing time, so expect a similar situation tonight. This is also the Jazz’s first official preseason game, having played a warm-up game in Australia last week.
Player to Watch: Bojan Bogdanovic
The former Pacer can get hot in a hurry, and I’m interested to see how he interfaces on the court with Joe Ingles’ shooting and passing ability. They should make an intriguing tandem for a Jazz team that appears quite deep with Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay in secondary roles.