Hi Milwaukee Bucks fans! This November, the Bucks have and will play the majority of their games at Fiserv Forum, including the two days surrounding Thanksgiving (hence the title). This makes me wonder why the Bucks are so home-heavy this early in the season. Of the first three forecasts, 13 of 19 games are played at home, meaning the Bucks only have 28 home games over the final 63. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I just find it odd how we have our two longest homestands at the beginning of the year, and all three West Coast trips aren’t until February (not including places like Texas or Memphis). The Bucks’ schedule as a whole just appears to be an anomaly, and hopefully it doesn’t come to bite them down the road.
Let’s now take a look at my prediction vs. the Bucks’ record:
Julie’s Prediction: 5-1 (9-3 overall)
Bucks’ 2022 Record: 10-2 (4-2 overall)
The Bucks got off to a great start in the forecast, beating up on the lowly Pistons after taking them to the wire just two nights earlier. That led to a very nice win over a (possibly) tough, top-heavy Minnesota team, especially with their size up front, and finished with a blowout over Oklahoma City without the Greek Freak. We then got our first loss of the season in Atlanta, and frankly I wasn’t surprised because the Hawks are a good team and played us tough last forecast. Jrue also got an ankle sprain in that fourth quarter, so he didn’t play against the rematch with Oklahoma City along with Giannis again. That didn’t matter, as a double overtime thriller saw the Bucks somehow come out of it with a win. Brook Lopez, Jevon Carter and MarJon Beauchamp led the way in that one. Finally, they finished up in San Antonio with even less, and this time it was too much for the Bucks.
I know we beat the Thunder short-handed twice, but I’m going to keep this San Antonio game circled as one that we may wish we could have had back. I do credit me being wrong about the predictions only because they didn’t play Giannis half of the forecast, but otherwise I would have been accurate. Just keep in mind that if we miss a better seed and then have to play a game seven on the road, was this game worth it? I’m not criticizing, I’m just speculating.
Now, let’s get a quick dive into what we have coming up. We start off with game three against the Hawks, and to see if maybe being home with more health(?) will do them some good. We finish the two game trip with the first of two (this forecast) against another good team in the East, Cleveland. We then return to Philadelphia for the final time this season and the only road game of this forecast. Following that is the four-game homestand over Thanksgiving week which takes us through this forecast, and all against average-to-good teams. The order is Portland, Chicago, Cleveland and Dallas.
Looking at injuries for the Bucks, Giannis missed both games against the Thunder, but should be mostly available. Jrue has a sprained ankle, and will likely miss some of these games or only partially participate. The good news on the injury front is we are apparently nearing full-time returns for both Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton, and both should (hopefully) be back sometime this month. And finally, Joe Ingles will remain out until sometime in 2023.
As for the other teams, Atlanta still has not seen Bogdan Bogdanovic play, so I will assume he won’t on Monday. Cleveland has missed point guard Ricky Rubio all season, Dean Wade is banged up, as well as their “Thanasis” in Dylan Windler. James Harden will miss this game for Philly, and Portland has a lot of injured players. Gary Payton II should miss the game, and they also have Jerami Grant, Jusuf Nurkic, Justise Winslow and Shaedon Sharpe on the injury report, but all could be available. Chicago has Lonzo Ball out, and Coby White is hobbled as well. Lastly, Dallas has been dealing with injuries to Davis Bertans and Frank Ntikilina. All in all, there are a decent amount of injuries now that the season is more underway. This was updated Friday, November 11.
Monday, November 14th
7PM on Bally Sports WI
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick and tired of writing about the Hawks already. I really don’t know what more to say about them so close together. The Bucks won game one against the Hawks, which was pretty close and the game I predicted would be the biggest test of the homestand. The second game went about the opposite, and Jrue Holiday managed to get shaken up in the fourth quarter.
This is the last time we face the Hawks until the New Year, so that is a bit of good news, since I’m really high on what this team is capable of. As Dave Koehn said on the radio during the game, it was a bit of “addition by subtraction” with the Hawks (aside from the Dejounte Murray deal), who lost a couple of relevant players but gained more experience and playing time with their youth.
As for how are the Bucks going to do against them a third time? I’m not sure, playing good teams are usually loseable games, but they Bucks are undefeated at home at this point still. I think this is going to be one we wind up taking, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost either.
Wednesday, November 16th
7PM on Bally Sports WI
Friday, November 25th
7PM on Bally Sports WI
So I know that many disagree about how high I had the Cavaliers ranked prior to the season, but they have started off very strong. They went 6-1 without All-Star point guard Darius Garland (for the most part), and with his return this team should be more dangerous heading into the rest of the season. The big move they made was acquiring Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in exchange for a lot. But the good news for Cleveland is, they have a lot in their own right.
Aside from what I believe is the best backcourt in the East, which I have Atlanta as the only close challenger in the conference (Toronto and Philadelphia are more distant challengers), they have a solid rotation of big men led by sophomore sensation Evan Mobley and another borderline All-Star in Jarrett Allen. Former All-Star Kevin Love comes off the bench, as well as a defense-first wing in Isaac Okoro and an offense-first wing in Cedi Osman. They also made an underrated move last trade deadline when they acquired Caris LeVert, who gives them another dynamic offensive player, sometimes.
I like this team a lot if you didn’t realize, and while I don’t believe they are better than the Bucks I can assure you they are better than many think they are. They started falling off last season in the spring, but now with a full year of experience together with the addition of Mitchell, this team being a second-round playoff opponent is not out of the question. The combination of size up front with the scoring in the backcourt is a unique challenge that no other team really has and playing them twice this forecast should help us see how the Bucks fare against another of the elite’s in the East.
Friday, November 18th
7PM on ESPN & Bally Sports WI
Another early rematch for the Bucks, as we get a redo of the opening night thriller that really seemed to forge the paths for both of these teams this season. The Bucks have had a great start to the season, whereas Philadelphia has struggled. Losing to teams like San Antonio, Washington and the Knicks this early was not what 76ers fans had in mind, and that is why there is a lot of frustration for the 76ers.
James Harden is going to miss this game, as he has been out for a few weeks and is “out until at least December 5th”. Whatever you think of him, he was second in steals and rebounds, third in scoring and averaging over 10 assists, so he still is good enough to be hard to replace. But is this team more dangerous with James Harden off of the court altogether? I don’t buy it, The Milton/Korkmaz/Thybulle trio that is now backing up Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton all have their problems, and none of them can replace James Harden. This team still does have Joel Embiid, and Maxey has had a great season so far, but without Harden and with the possibility of Khris Middleton returning by now, I can’t expect Philadelphia to be better suited to win than last time.
Monday, November 21st
7PM on Bally Sports WI
Part of why I suggest waiting until Christmas to really take a close look into the standings is because of teams like the Portland Trailblazers. They were the second to last team to lose a game this season, and they have kind of come back to Earth pretty fast. I was not a big believer in this team going into the season, and while they may be a good team, they don’t really have a chance of coming out of the West.
This team starts with Damian Lillard, who is their leading scorer and one of the greatest to ever play in Portland. I then look at their very solid starting lineup with a pair of fringe All-Stars in CJ McCollum replacement Anfernee Simons, as well as forward Jerami Grant. Throw in big man Jusuf Nurkic and swingman Josh Hart and you have a very modern starting lineup. All five of these players are capable of performing on any team. After them, however, is where it gets dicey. You have Finals hero Gary Payton II on the bench who is hurt still, and then things get very young. Nassir Little, Trendon Watford and Shaedon Sharpe are all very young players, with promise, but still very young and unproven. Justise Winslow also has found a home here in Portland, but who knows how long he could be a quality player.
This will be a quality test for the Bucks, since this team is solid and capable of lighting up the basket. This team also was one of those games I circled last season as an ugly loss, since we lost to them at home when they didn’t have Lillard or McCollum. It is one of those games, as well as one against Detroit I believe (and Minnesota before we found out they were good), that if we had back we could have had the second seed and home court against Boston. This is a better Portland team than that one for sure, but let’s not kid ourselves and think they are on the same level as the Bucks.
Wednesday, November 23rd
7PM on Bally Sports WI
Another first game with a divisional foe, the Bulls are a seemingly mediocre team this season. At this point, they are playing kind of how we expected them to perform last season (even though they did kind of do that in the second half). Star wing DeMar DeRozan hasn’t been quite the same as he was last season, and I also get a feeling that this team just has too many guards or smaller players. Aside from centers Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond, this team is just not very sizable, and that caused them issues last postseason while playing the Bucks (and they aren’t known for their length either).
I think this team is capable of winning against the Bucks, and while I know a lot of you laugh at the Bulls I just don’t see them as that big of a joke. They have a better squad than those pre-Giannis Bucks teams had, and they also seem to believe that Lonzo Ball returning is going to make them a championship contender again. Ball is out until the New Year, and I personally don’t know who Ball would take minutes from? Ayo Dosunmu, Goran Dragic, or Coby White? I don’t see Lonzo as that much of an upgrade, but that’s just me. Either way, the Bucks have a clear advantage here, it just depends on if they are up to playing this game or not.
Sunday, November 27th
7PM on Bally Sports WI & NBA TV
Dallas has had an interesting season in 2022 so far, and they have definitely had the second best player in the entire NBA lifting them up to a winning record at this point. Luka Doncic is on a tear so far this season, and his gaudy numbers are the only thing in my opinion keeping Jason Kidd looking like a good coach. Take away Luka, and you have a starting lineup of Dwight Powell or JaVale McGee, Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie. Christian Wood, Maxi Kleber and Josh Green come off of the bench. Don’t get me wrong, those are all nice players for the most part, but without Luka that’s a direction-less 2009 Milwaukee Bucks team. Not bad, but not playoff worthy.
It really says a lot to me that this team somehow made the Western Conference Finals, and even snuck past Utah without Luka. This team is a nice playoff team, but they clearly just aren’t there overall. If Christian Wood and Spencer Dinwiddie were on the Bucks instead of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, or even Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, the Bucks sure as hell aren’t the favorites in the East. Luka can will this team to victory, and hopefully we get to see the exciting matchup he faces when Jrue Holiday defends him.
Julie’s Prediction: 5-2
It’s still unclear as to when and if Middleton and Connaughton, and when Holiday will be cleared to play. I hope they get as much time as they need, but it is also a lot of fun to watch the Bucks win. I picked them to go 5-2 this round, and that is probably a win stronger than I would have for last season. This states my confidence in the Bucks at this time, but I also think every team here is capable of sneaking a victory past them. I just don’t see them going through any major losing streaks, and every game is just as winnable. It’s kind of like they are playing the slightly better than average portion of the schedule, so I’ll figure they have two losses in here somewhere. If I had to pick, Cleveland beats them once, and then either at Philadelphia or the Atlanta game if a lot of the team is not available.
What do you think? Vote and comment below!
How Do You Think the Bucks Will Do This Forecast?
This poll is closed
6-1 or 7-0 (Home Cooking)
5-2 (Julie’s Prediction)
4-3 (This Portion of the Schedule is Tough)
3-4 or worse (I guess we came back down to Earth)