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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets Preview: Take The A Train

Another preview of everyone’s favorite playoff matchup, except without half of the Bucks

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Before I get to the big matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, indulge me for a moment because I’ve spent a lot of time in NYC for work this year, staying in Brooklyn.

There’s a major transfer point under the Nets’ arena for the subway (and Long Island Railroad). It confuses me, though: no fewer than 9 NYC subway lines serve it but there are at least 3 more nearby that don’t actually stop there (including the A) and it’s screwed me up several times. Anyway, the A train doesn’t stop at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station in Brooklyn, but Marques Johnson was recently pushing the Duke Ellington-inspired nickname for Giannis Antetokounmpo and you can catch the A train two blocks north of the arena at Lafayette Avenue, during late-night hours. So if you’re ever at a Nets game, you can take the A train back after the Bucks beat them in the playoffs again (heh).

Ok, now onto the reason you’re here: basketball.

Where We’re At

It’s just about the midpoint of the season, and the Bucks are 25-15. Not bad! The last two games though? Pretty bad! I won’t rehash Monday night’s debacle against one of the league’s worst teams but Wednesday night they were without Giannis (non-COVID illness) against a quality opponent, so you knew it could be tough. He’s currently listed as probable for tonight; they sure need him because four Bucks (and one head coach) entered the health and safety protocols since his last appearance on Monday: Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, George Hill, and Jrue Holiday. AKA the entire backcourt rotation. Plus Donte DiVincenzo is out with a sprain of his surgically repaired left ankle. The starters below are a total guess; maybe Darvin Ham opts to start Nwora and not start a true point guard. To address this thinness, the Bucks signed former Net (as of a few days ago) Langston Galloway to a ten-day hardship contract. Brook Lopez remains out and DeMarcus Cousins is no longer a Buck, so we may see some Luke Kornet minutes.

Brooklyn needed a 19-point rally plus the return of Kyrie Irving to defeat Indy on Wednesday evening and snap a three-game losing streak. Even though the Nets welcomed him back to their road squad, Irving is confined there and will not be a concern of the Bucks tonight: in case you missed it, New York does not permit unvaccinated individuals to enter basketball arenas and Irving refuses to get vaccinated. Who will be concerns of the Bucks are Kevin Durant and James Harden, who had 39 on 24 shots and a muted 18 on 5/12 shooting, respectively. There is also Patty Mills, who’s been putting up huge games from deep against the Bucks the past few seasons and will likely start in place of Irving. The only other Net on the injury report is sharpshooter Joe Harris as he recovers from ankle surgery.

Player To Watch

I’ll be interested to see if Brooklyn is visibly disrupted by having an elite scorer in their last game but not this one, though I’m willing to bet they’ll be fine. So I’ll pick Wesley Matthews instead. The Marquette alum and Madison native has looked great on both ends of the floor since returning to the Bucks, with a newly-diversified offensive game plus his usual brand of physical defense. While you probably won’t confuse him with P.J. Tucker, who has 20 pounds and an inch or two on Matthews, will he take on the Tucker role and split the assignment KD tonight with Khris Middleton? I’d assume he’ll spend a lot of time on him, especially since KD’s other main defender from the East Semis last year was Holiday.


Game 41: Against Brooklyn, the Bucks will...

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