The loss to Atlanta may have left a bizarre taste in some people’s mouths, if only because it was such an odd affair. Milwaukee ran out a Frazier-Brown-Colson-Wilson-Lopez starting lineup and then proceeded to demolish the Hawks from deep to nab a 20+ point advantage in the game’s opening minutes. Atlanta’s rapid speed and barrage of triples helped them level the playing field, and the rest of the game was a genuine back-and-forth all the way to the wire. Sterling Brown’s layup put the Bucks ahead with just over a second left in OT, but Trae Young’s miracle short runner gave them the win. On top of that, the Bucks played 2-3 zone the entire time. Milwaukee is 2-0 against Brooklyn this year, last besting them in early February with a 113-94 victory. We’ll have to wait until a bit later in the day to determine whether Budenholzer opts to rest his starters as severely in this one. We’ll update the post with proper injury updates when they come.
UPDATE: Looks like the first injury report lists both Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo as questionable for the game. Khris has a left groin strain, but beyond that, the usual five guys are out. I could see both these guys sitting tonight as well.
Player to Watch: Brook Lopez
Lopez, of course, honed his post skills throughout his career in Brooklyn. In his latter years under Kenny Atkinson, he started morphing his game into what would blossom into his Splash Mountain performance this year. With just eight points last time against Brooklyn, the Bucks didn’t need their bombing big to contribute big time for a win. Depending on who is available, he may have to be firing away to get the Bucks this one.
With Kenny Atkinson at the helm, Brooklyn has transformed into a diet version of what Bud started in Atlanta. D’Angelo Russell’s emergence this season has unlocked their potential as a team to fear in the East after years of depressingly being under the foot of lost draft picks and no future. Now, there’s a clear present to go along with a road ahead. Sitting at 39-38, they’re fresh off a 110-96 cathartic bashing of the Boston Celtics. While they went just 2-5 on a recent 7-game road trip, they’re happy to be back in the friendly confines of Brooklyn. With so little separation between the bottom three seeds in the East, this could be another potential playoff preview for the Bucks.
Player to Watch: Jarrett Allen
Allen’s fro is as fearsome as his blocking potential. With him patrolling the paint, incoming drivers have to avoid if they want to get a shot off effectively near the rim. While his offensive game still has to refine, he had four blocks the last time against Milwaukee. The Bucks will have to try and hope Lopez can draw the Fro away from the restricted area.
Game 78: Against the Nets 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)