Let me take you back to Friday, March 15, 2019. All things were swell in Bucks land. They were healthy, in the midst of a 3-game road trip through the South/Southeastern part of the continental United States, and after a few nights in South Beach, they would be headed home following a Miami Heat contest. My how the times change. Malcolm Brogdon went down against Miami, and less than a week later, Nikola Mirotic is out too. Subsequently, half the Bucks roster got put on IR. With a slightly rosier injury outlook tonight, hopefully Milwaukee can shake off the cobwebs lingering from Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
To the tens of you that sat through that entire Bucks-Cavaliers game that featured just eight healthy Bucks, I salute you. We were all greeted to a collective rock fight far less enthralling than cloning two The Things to do battle in the ring. Khris Middleton had a fine outing, going for 26 points and 12 rebounds, but the rest of his supporting cast left plenty to be desired. That 107-102 loss certainly wasn’t the end of the world for Milwaukee, but you always hope they can pull one like that out, even shorthanded, against the dregs of the league. Curse you Collin Sexton. As a reminder of how good we’ve actually had it this season, Tim Frazier played 15 minutes against Cleveland and finished -7. He looked like he didn’t belong, which will be true come Playoff time. However, when he was with New Orleans, he averaged 19 minutes per game. Folks, we’re blessed with this Bucks team.
The Bucks pulled off a miracle comeback against Miami last Friday, down by 20 at half and winning by 15 in the end, but that’ll be a tall task for a team that’s already missing two robust backup scoring punches. On the injury front, Giannis Antetokounmpo, George Hill and Sterling Brown are all listed as probable. Mirotic, Gasol, DiVincenzo and Brogdon are all out.
Player to Watch: Khris Middleton
Middleton has gone for 30 and 26 in the two games Giannis missed this week. He’s done his part to keep Milwaukee winning or close to it, so it’ll be interesting to see his numbers likely deflate slightly as more ball-handling duties go back to The Greek Freak. Giannis’ absence is always a good reminder that Middleton, whatever your opinions on him and his potential contract this summer, has a collection of skills that are tough to find in one package.
Well, it would appear Miami is...HEATing up after their loss to the Bucks. They’ve rattled off three straight wins, including two impressive victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the piping hot San Antonio Spurs. Both of those wins were on the road too. Goran Dragic led them in scoring each of those nights, with 26 and 22 respectively, but the Heat are truly a score by committee team. Just like last Friday, they’re always feisty against the Bucks and James Johnson - Giannis’ defensive archenemy - should be back for this one. Let’s hope Giannis’ return proves plenty galvanizing for the Bucks. Milwaukee did a fine job keeping the Heat off the offensive glass last week, particularly important since they’re fourth in the league in that category. Here’s an update on the Heat’s injury situation:
#MIAvsMIL INJURY UPDATE: Bam Adebayo (hip) will play in tonight’s game vs the Bucks.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 22, 2019
Rodney McGruder (knee) & Justise Winslow (thigh) have both been ruled out.
Player to Watch: Goran Dragic
Held to just a 2-9 performance against the Bucks last week, he’s exploded these past few games as outlined above. Eric Bledsoe has plenty of strength and speed to contain the Euro off the bounce, so Milwaukee should hope Bled’s engaged for tonight on that end. His numbers are down across the board, but he’s also only played in 25 games this season.
Game 73: Against the Heat 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)