I have to admit, I’ve found more joy this NBA season than I can remember in quite some time, even from tuning into teams beyond the Milwaukee Bucks. Part of that is surely a byproduct of our hometown team dominating almost each and every outing, but still, there’s a lot of fun new faces to check out alongside the old stalwarts still succeeding. And yet, I can’t say I need to see any more of the Atlanta Hawks for quite some time. By quirk of scheduling, this is now the fifth time we’re seeing this matchup, including the Abu Dhabi contests. That’s 5 out of 18 or nearly 28% of the Bucks games so far that have come against Trae Young and company.
I, for one, will be glad when this one is over and we won’t have to see them again until January.
Where We’re At
The Milwaukee JevonCarters really need to get some of their artillery back, as they fell in a forgettable game down in the Alamo last Friday evening. With no Giannis Antetokounmpo or Jrue Holiday once more, it was the Bucks backup brigade that upset OKC trying to make a go of it. They couldn’t muster nearly enough points, despite another decent outing (21 points, six assists) from Carter, shooting 32.7% overall as a team is not a recipe for success. Holiday is still out for this game against Atlanta, but hopefully Giannis can return as he’s listed as probable. They’ll need him to take on a Hawks team that sorta blew them off the court last Monday.
Atlanta is fresh off splitting two games against Philadelphia with Trae Young now returned to the lineup. As a refresher, they’re a team that lives in the midrange, so expect a steady diet again of them weaving past the pick-and-roll defense of Milwaukee and pulling up or moving in for finger rolls. Perhaps the most frustrating part of last Monday’s loss was the lack of urgency on the defensive boards, usually a Bud staple. When this kinda stuff is happening, you knew the Bucks weren’t bringing it:
Clean that up with the turnovers, add in Giannis, and hopefully we’ll see something more competitive here.
Atlanta only has Bogdan out for this one. Here’s Milwaukee’s massive list: Probable are Grayson Allen (non-covid illness), Giannis and MarJon Beauchamp (right calf contusion). Out are Jrue Holiday and the other dudes who have been out since the start of the year.
Player to Watch
Bobby Portis is having a decent year, even if his 3-point percentage has dipped so far. If Giannis is able to go, it’d be nice to have his scoring punch off the bench once more. Without him, Milwaukee in its shorthanded state is essentially bereft of anyone who can add something substantial to the team in the points department.
Game 13: Against Atlanta, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)