Where We’re At
The Milwaukee Bucks may have be playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the last two results wouldn’t make you think so. After pummeling the Orlando Magic on Sunday, they wrecked the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, 130-105. The Wolves hung with them, even without Towns, for about a quarter and a half before Milwaukee’s offense overwhelmed their defense. PJ Tucker did finally return to the lineup, but didn’t shoot in his nine minutes. Khris Middleton had 27 points to lead all scorers, and he poured all that in using just 25 minutes of game time. On top of that, he had eight rebounds and seven assists. Milwaukee now sits just one game behind the Brooklyn Nets for the two seed.
The subplot going into this next matchup is, of course, the botched Bogdan Bogdanovic trade. Bogdanovic is back from his injury and has been on a scoring parade, but for those of you already sick of having to hear about that failed transaction on the broadcast, I’ll just move onto the Hawks generally. The Hawks have shot up the standings since firing Lloyd Pierce as head coach and elevating Nate McMillan. They now sit in the 4th seed and will be likely battling it out with the likes of Boston, the Knicks and Miami for the rest of the season. Atlanta held off the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, 108-103, behind balanced scoring from the starters including 23 from Bogdan and 19 and 21 from Clint Capela. Their preferred pace is slow, in contrast to the Bucks breakneck speed, so we’ll see which team wins out in that category. Trae Young is questionable for this one, and he also missed Milwaukee’s earlier season matchup when they prevailed, 129-115.
The Hawks will be without a whole host of players, including Kris Dunn, De’Andre Hunter, Tony Snell, John Collins and Danilo Gallinari is questionable. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only question mark, listed as...questionable.
Player to Watch
Brook Lopez has taken more of his talents down low since the All-Star Break, and while his offensive exploits will be appreciated, I’m more interested in how he’ll be able to box out Clint Capela. Capela is in the 99th percentile among bigs in terms of offensive rebounding his team’s missed field goals, per Cleaning The Glass. To avoid any sort of frustration that they faced last week, Lopez is going to have to be on his game, especially with Capela used as a lob threat down the lane.
Game 55: Against the Hawks, the Bucks will...
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Win big (10 or more points)
Win close (9 or fewer points)
Lose close (9 or fewer points)
Lose big (10 or more points)