The Milwaukee Bucks got their three game road trip off to a positive start with a narrow victory on Wednesday night, they head West for their second matchup of the season with the New Orleans Pelicans. Milwaukee dropped the preseason game against New Orleans, 127-113, albeit without Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Where We’re At
Milwaukee weathered a hellacious finish from Kyle Lowry and a barrage of triples from the Toronto Raptors to emerge victorious, 115-108. While Nick Nurse’s squad’s game plan was full of his usual bag of tricks, their 55 3-point attempts (a season high for Milwaukee opponents) couldn’t math them past the Bucks crisp offense. Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly netted a triple-double, going for 24 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists. He looked more than comfortable probing the Raptors D and kicking to teammates. Khris Middleton nearly had his own triple-double too (24, 10 & five) while Brook had 20.
As for the Pelicans, they’ve had one wonky season. They obviously shipped out their stud PG to Milwaukee before the season (thanks, btw) and now are trying to figure out how their jumbalaya of veterans and young’uns fit together. Their most recent win was a dub over the Washington Wizards, but they’re currently ranked 14th in the Western Conference. There’s a cluster of teams from 5-14 out there, but it’s also a stacked group with OKC friskier than expected, Phoenix playing well, Golden State rebounding and Dallas still waiting to make a run. New coach Stan Van Gundy has them trotting out Bud’s defensive scheme, allowing a league-high 45% of opponent shots from the 3-point line, per Cleaning The Glass. The one BIG difference: the Pelicans allow 68% shooting at the rim, 3rd worst in the league. Turns out it helps to have a DPOY ready to help in the lane at a moment’s notice.
Lonzo Ball is the only player for either team on the injury report. He’s questionable with an ankle sprain.
Player to Watch
There are obvious candidates here, like Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson or old friend Eric Bledsoe, but it has to be JJ Redick. As trade rumors swirl around the veteran who has been reunited with Stan Van, he’s quietly put together a horrific shooting year from deep, currently at 29.8% on 5.3 attempts per game. The reason he’s worth watching is that in seemingly every Redick game against the Bucks, he’s been lights out. It happened with the Clippers. It happened with the Sixers. It happened with the Pelicans last year. Will it happen again, even during this strugglebus of a year?
Game 18: Against the Pelicans, Milwaukee will...
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