After all the titillation and excitement surrounding the NBA trade deadline, the massive amount of player movement is left with just buyout candidates as the Milwaukee Bucks prepare for the last few games before the All-Star break. Tonight, they tackle a Dallas team with a different construction from the last time they squared off.
In case you crawled out from under a rock just this morning, the Milwaukee Bucks fanbase is still giddy over their acquisition of Nikola Mirotic. The team made the deal official just several hours after the trade went down, turning Stanley Johnson (by way of Thon Maker) and Jason Smith plus four second-round selections into a frontcourt player who perfectly matches their style of play. While it’s unclear whether Mirotic will be suited up on the sidelines - he’s been out since January 23 with a strained calf - the trade further fortifies a Milwaukee squad that’s set to do battle with the top of the East. They have a stretch here against Dallas, the Orlando Fultzes and Chicago before finishing it off with the Pacers to head into the All-Star break. At this point, every win matters to try and cement home court advantage for the Playoffs, so one hopes the Bucks take care of business tonight. Milwaukee last shut down Dallas 116-106 in a game whose final score is closer than it appears back on MLK Jr. Day. In injury news, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Sterling Brown and George Hill are all listed as probable.
UPDATE: It looks like Khris Middleton will get a night off and no clarification yet on when Nikola may join the team.
Khris Middleton says he was told he is not playing tonight in Dallas. He said there’s nothing wrong with him. More of a load management type of situation.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 8, 2019
Bud says he doesn’t expect Nikola Mirotic to be with the team in Dallas. When Mirotic will be able to begin playing with the Bucks remains to be determined. Says he probably won’t know more until later tonight or tomorrow ahead of the game vs the Magic.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 8, 2019
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe abused Jalen Brunson the last time these two teams went toe-to-toe, taking him off the dribble and toying with him offensively. Should he choose to, he could likely shut down either Brunson defensively too. After his suffocating fourth quarter lockdown against the Wizards and sweet-shooting stroke from deep, we’ll see whether he’s looking to take advantage of penetrating the paint time and again.
You would hardly recognize the Mavs squad that trots out on the floor tonight. Not only are they fresh off trading Harrison Barnes mid-game for Justin Jackson and a burly, benched Zach Randolph, but they also kicked off the trade deadline frenzy with their massive move to snatch Kristaps Porzingis. Gone is Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews and Deandre Jordan; in is Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke. Dirk Nowitzki is back and playing regular minutes too after being absent in the last Milwaukee game. On the surface, the Mavs going 5-2 since that Bucks loss looks pretty shiny, but those victories also came against the Knicks, Pistons, Clippers, Crapaliers and Hornets. I’d say their three point loss to Toronto may be more impressive if it weren’t for beating the Hornets in the midst of this happening:
Harrison Barnes was traded mid game and didn’t know pic.twitter.com/GFwawE7Hdc— NBABase (@NBABase) February 7, 2019
Still, Doncic was a menace for the Bucks last time out, getting to the middle and dishing dimes to Mavs players waiting in the corner. They shouldn’t have the horses to stick with this Bucks team though, especially with 36% of their scoring from their last game against Milwaukee gone.
Player to Watch: Dirk Nowitzki
Who knows if this could be his last game matched up against Milwaukee. I don’t plan on watching much more Dallas this year, so I’ll take as much Dirk as I can while the German is still kicking that leg out for his signature shot.
Game 54: Against the Mavs, the Bucks will...
This poll is closed
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)