Let’s just pray O.J. Mayo isn’t hooping around his old college grounds. Yes, it’s hope and a prayer time that the Milwaukee Bucks haven’t succumbed to the peer pressures of LA nightlife in the run-up to their showdown with the drama-embattled Los Angeles Lakers. Fresh off a rousing victory over the scrappy Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee looks for their tenth straight road victory.
Here’s a dumbfounding stat: from Christmas on, your Milwaukee Bucks have gone 25-4. I even had to zoom out on my browser just to fit in all their post-Xmas wins on my screen at one time. It’s been a wild season already, but the Bucks have settled into a series of calmness and confidence that belies a franchise who hasn’t reached these types of regular season heights in decades. Even with Giannis Antetokounmpo on a minutes restriction against the Kings, Milwaukee found their way to another W behind clutch shots from Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe and Nikola Mirotic. All this while Brook Lopez struggled on the offensive end (3-15), but picked up six rim rejections on the defensive end. More and more, this team is feeling like one that spots any extra leaks in the dike and grows extra digits to plug it. No word yet on whether Giannis might be limited tonight, but expect Sterling Brown to miss tonight in addition to George Hill, who won’t be playing during this whole road trip.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
If for no other reason than he may get rested tomorrow in Utah for the second end of a back-to-back, Giannis will be the guy I’m keeping my eye on tonight. One, to monitor if he looks like himself with that lingering knee issue; two, because Giannis vs. LeBron is the type of matchup we won’t have many more chances to gawk at given the King’s age and exodus from the East. Oh, also I don’t think Giannis really wants to get used to this.
TMZ stalking superstars through the streets of LA is going to help small markets more than the supermax ever could https://t.co/XeFjtITU1O— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) March 1, 2019
The LeBrongeles Lakers have been a soap opera ever since LeBron’s business partner Rich Paul went nuclear with Anthony Davis’s trade request from the Pelicans. When the rubble cleared, Dell Demps stood sneering from his bunker while LeBron could only glare at the Lakers’ youngsters he tried to ship out of town. It’s been predictably messy since then, as they’ve gone 2-2 since the All-Star Break, including a miserable loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. They’re fresh off a 125-119 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, in a game where Davis played only 20 minutes and LeBron led the Lakers to a win with 33 points. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Lakers are just 21st in points per possession offensively and 14th defensively. Some of that is likely deflated due to the 18-game absence of LeBron this season, but still, they’ve been a mediocre, to below middling team all season long. They have also been running with the stretchy, but slight, Kyle Kuzma at center, which should be an interesting matchup for Brook Lopez. Lonzo Ball and Lance Stephenson are out.
Player to Watch: Brandon Ingram
I haven’t seen much of Ingram this season, but he came into the league with that “Giannis-body” archetype surrounding him and a potential ability to be a lengthy, playmaking wing. It seems like he’s bumping up against some sort of ceiling. He’s scoring at his highest level in his career (17.9), but his shooting just has never come around. He shot 41% from deep in college, but just 68.2% from the free throw stripe, and it seems like the latter has been the proper indicator for him thus far. He’s a career 32.6% shooter from deep on low volume and while his free throw attempts are up this year (5.6), he’s not a guy who’s going to bludgeon you by penetrating.
Game 62: Against the Lakers 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)