After the schedulers were kind enough to give us an off day to work through the post-holiday hangover, a new gift awaits tonight as the Milwaukee Bucks hit the road and take on the New York Knicks. Tonight’s contest is the only game of the first five of the regular season for Milwaukee that are not national broadcasts, making it the first opportunity for us to hear old friends Jim Paschke and Marques Johnson calling the game. It also kicks off a three-game road trip, culminating in a back-to-back against our nemesis du jour, the Miami Heat; not that we should overlook the team in front of us on the schedule, but clearly this game is a simple business matter whereas the next two carry more import.
Where We’re At
Bucks fans were flying high after smacking down the Warriors, and down in the dumps after a failed comeback against the Celtics. The truth for this team, as with most things, is probably somewhere in-between. Superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been playing below his lofty standards and is struggling with his shot, but teammates Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday have proved to be more than capable of sharing the burden of living up to this team’s expectations. Milwaukee seems to be at full strength, with both DJ Augustin and Torrey Craig seeing game action against Golden State after dealing with minor injuries at the outset of the season. Everything is primed for the team to get their act together...and speaking of “getting it together,” the New York Knicks, ladies and gentlemen!
New York is coming into tonight on a back-to-back, having lost badly yesterday to the Philadelphia 76ers. There’s a decent amount of long-term optimism in New York these days, with Tom Thibodeau recently installed as the team’s new head coach and a handful of young prospects worth developing, like RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Mitchell Robinson. In the short-term, though? It’s tough goings; the most optimistic season prediction from SB Nation sister site Posting and Toasting was 33 wins. Toppin will miss this contest with a calf issue, while Immanuel Quickley, Austin Rivers, and Omari Spellman all missed their Saturday game with minor injuries and are considered day-to-day.
Player To Watch: Bobby Portis
Portis is a journeyman at this stage of his NBA career, but at only 25 years old he still has a chance to establish his future in the league over the next few years. His opportunity in Milwaukee is to do exactly that, which follows a one-year stint in New York that cast him back into free agency rather than retain him on his team option this season. Might today be an opportunity to show the Knicks the error of their ways? Probably not, but the chance of witnessing a Bobby Portis Revenge Game is too good to miss out on.
Game 3: Against New York, 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)