You didn’t have enough preseason action between the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks? Well, lucky for you, the matchup was so nice that they scheduled it twice, and the second half of this exhibitory double-header tips off tonight at Fiserv Forum.
We wondered it on Saturday and got confirmation that yes, Donte DiVincenzo would be the Bucks’ fifth starter. It didn’t make a huge difference, but nothing really will for one preseason game after half of the roster has turned over. There are tons of wrinkles to iron out and more to track than a single exhibition contest can give us. Giannis’ free throws are improved (maybe), and the team has a new emphasis on offensive rebounding (maybe).
I don't think it's wise to draw any drastic conclusions or trends from preseason games....BUT Mike Budenholzer did specifically mention that offensive rebounding could be more of a factor this season.— Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) December 14, 2020
We discussed on today's show⬇️
Of course, the real topic people care about is Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his still-unsigned supermax extension. There has been no new developments on that front, with only a week until the deadline. Even Bucks owner Marc Lasry has nothing to add!
Nothing we didn’t already know, but also what a weirdly awkward interview! https://t.co/h47ywIthea— Mitchell Maurer (@Mitchell_NBA) December 14, 2020
Player to watch: D.J. Augustin
The Bucks’ bench point guard was a team-low minus-13 on Saturday, registering only 3 points and 4 assists. Mostly due to his physical limitations, Augustin is considered one of the Bucks’ weakest links on defense, but his aptitude on the other end is hoped to make up for it. That wasn’t the case last time, but in some part because the Bucks shot terribly (23.7% from deep on the night). Perhaps a weekend of practice will help calibrate the offense?
Over at our SB Nation sister-site, Mavs fans were enthused about the overall levels of Energy and Effort (TM) they saw in their initial preseason contest. From Mavs Moneyball:
It was the bench unit that brought the Mavericks alive in the first quarter. With the starters playing just 16 minutes, the rest of Dallas looked tantalizing. Jalen Brunson looked excellent himself, coming off an injury. Rookie Josh Green looked like an NBA player and more important, looked comfortable among the world’s best. Trey Burke continued his run from Orlando where he appeared to be a Rick Carlisle All-Star. Willie Cauley-Stein looked spry and effective. Nate Hinton did the thing he does: a little bit of everything. Tyler Bey could be party pterodactyl. Heck even Tyrell Terry took a charge.
Everyone played hard. In what’s to be a grind of a regular season, playing hard makes up for a lot, night in and out.
Perhaps they were just excited to get back into action, and things will revert to what you would normally expect? Perhaps, but this Mavs team has major expectations for themselves, so even though it’s only preseason I would be interested to see what sort of response the Bucks have tonight.
Player to watch: Maxi Kleber
The Jumping German came off the bench to tie for the Mavs’ team lead in both points (13) and plus-minus (plus-16), knocking down a trio of threes and corralling 7 rebounds for good measure. Milwaukee struggles with opposing teams who have bigs that can shoot, and with Bobby Portis and D.J. Wilson serving as the team’s primary reserves in the frontcourt, it’s worth monitoring which one of them provides the most trouble for Kleber repeating his standout performance.
Preseason Game 2: Against the Mavericks, Milwaukee will...
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