We made it to Game 82! Tonight, as a capper to an absolute dream of a season, the Milwaukee Bucks will host the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder, and prepare for the first round of the playoffs this weekend.
Get on with it already! The Bucks have won 60 games in the first time in decades, and had already wrapped up the best record in the league (and the playoffs-long home court advantage that accompanies it). The biggest thing Bucks fans have to worry about (besides Giannis’ MVP candidacy, which feels more and more inevitable as time passes) is the seeding of the rest of the Eastern Conference, where Milwaukee’s first round opponent is far from defined.
Bucks Round 1 opponent scenarios:— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) April 10, 2019
Bucks play Magic IF
1. Nets win, Magic lose, Pistons win
Bucks play Pistons IF
1: Nets lose, Magic lose, Pistons win
2: Nets lose, Magic win, Pistons win
3. Nets win, Magic win, Pistons win
Bucks play Hornets if
1. Pistons lose, Hornets win
On the health side of things, the Bucks will continue to play it safe by resting both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez (load management), and Pat Connaughton (ankle) is questionable. The already-recovering group of Nikola Mirotic, Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell, Donte DiVincenzo, and Pau Gasol also remain out.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
Khris Middleton is largely considered the Bucks’ second-best player, but Eric Bledsoe has arguably been the second-most important this season. (Brook Lopez deserves mention in that conversation as well, but he’s not suiting up tonight so shhh.) Bledsoe routinely puts opposing star point guards through the gauntlet, and tonight’s matchup will be no different. What will really be worth watching is how well Bledsoe executes on offense, both in terms of his shooting and decision-making. If anybody could stand a tune-up game ahead of the postseason, it’s Bledsoe, after last year’s unfortunate results against Boston.
Contrasted by Milwaukee, the Thunder are still fighting to determine their seed and avoid certain playoff opponents. Last night, OKC was able to squeak past Houston thanks to a heroic Paul George three-pointer.
They needed that win, and they might need a win against the Bucks tonight. They’ve secured a playoff berth, but the Thunder could be seeded 6th, 7th, or 8th depending on how things shake out tonight with the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers. There’s a big difference between getting to play the Portland Trailblazers (who are very good!) and the Golden State Warriors (who are the Warriors).
Health-wise, the Thunder are a relatively healthy squad at just the right time; only Andre Roberson is listed as out, and he’s unfortunately been out for the whole season.
Player to Watch: Russell Westbrook
Sometimes it’s fun to just sit back and watch a show. Russ might not put up another 20-20-20 game (in honor of Nipsey Hussle no less), but Westbrook has always been entertaining, good or bad. His overall production is as impressive as it’s ever been (he’s averaging a triple-double on the season...for the third season in a row), just like his shooting efficiency is as bad as ever this year. Nevertheless, he’s worth the price of admission.
Game 82: Against the Thunder, 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)