Where We’re At
Milwaukee, and namely Giannis Antetokounmpo, is still drooling over the open looks he had in Portland’s paint last night. Despite a subpar evening from behind the arc, Giannis led the Bucks to a sizable 127-109 win behind a perfect, 18-18 inside the arc and a 47-point performance. No Blazer could stop him, and every facet of his game was working, from pull-ups to post moves. Khris Middleton chipped in with a quiet 20 points and eight assists while Jrue Holiday tacked on 22. It was a thoroughly dominating performance from Milwaukee’s big three. Giannis has another chance at a rout of a game with the Kings lying in wait.
The Sacramento Kings must be feeling pretty satisfied right now, even with their dispiriting 115-94 loss against the Lakers last night. Sure, their number two overall pick in Marvin Bagley could be a bust and they lost out on a chance to secure their “do-stuff” guard of the future in Donte DiVincenzo, but they’re creeping up the standings. They’re narrowly on the outside looking in of the Western Conference’s Play-in Tournament, and have gone 6-4 in their last ten. Plus, De’Aaron Fox was recently named the player of the week.
Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 36.8 points on 64% shooting to help Sacramento go 4-0.— Jason Anderson (@JandersonSacBee) March 29, 2021
36.8 points, I’d say that’s probably POTW-worthy. Good on Fox, who I’ve always enjoyed watching. The Kings shot just 28.6% (10-35) against the Lakers in their loss, with Harrison Barnes as the high man with 26 points. Fox will angle for a better shooting night than his 5-20 performance.
The Sneak Kings have snuck up to near the top-ten in terms of offensive rating. That’s the good news. The bad news is they’re abominably awful on the defensive end, posting the league’s worst rating, and considerably worse than the second worst team, Portland. They’ll need to keep up with Milwaukee, as the Bucks shouldn’t have a problem whirling through their defensive turnstiles. In their last matchup, Milwaukee used Sacramento as a mini get-right game, one of the early launching pads for its streak of positive play. That 128-115 win featured 38 points from Giannis and 32 from Khris Middleton, with Holiday out due to COVID-19.
Marvin Bagley is out and Hassan Whiteside is questionable. We’re still waiting on a new injury report for the Bucks, but I expect PJ Tucker will be the only one out with Bobby Portis and Jeff Teague active against the Blazers last night.
Player to Watch
There’s maybe no other Buck on the floor more exciting to watch right now (at least to longtime Bucks fans) than Jrue Holiday. He’s brought a level of calm, playmaking and assertiveness to the team that’s only seemed to grow in effectiveness of late. Given he didn’t get a crack at this Kings defense the first time, I’ll be interested to see how he attempts to carve them up. Getting to watch him body up De’Aaron Fox should be popcorn-worthy too.
Game 49: Against the Kings, the Bucks will...
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Win big (10 or more points)
Win close (9 or fewer points)
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Lose big (10 or more points)