It’s the holiday season, and for many of us – and the Milwaukee Bucks – that means travel. No, it might not be fun jet-setting across the country in December, and yes, it’s annoying to have to pack cold weather gear alongside everything else. But for tonight, at least, the Bucks’ first stop on their five-game road trip happens to be a visit to the New Orleans Pelicans...so at least it’s not snowing!
Where We’re At
Ask yourself, really ask yourself, this question: how good have the Bucks truly been this season? There have certainly been glimmers of greatness, but does anyone believe they’ve played at their full potential? Would that have even been possible, given the lengthy absences of contributors like Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton, not to mention any of the smaller injuries that force guys to miss time?
And they’re in what place now?
The Bucks have been up-and-down (admittedly more up than down) all season, and they’re still in first place.— Mitchell Maurer (@Mitchell_NBA) December 18, 2022
All the while, most Bucks fans would say “yeah, they’re winning, but they could be so much better.”
lol. And also, lmao. pic.twitter.com/tMfqWYjqfa
Yes, once again, your Milwaukee Bucks are the best (regular season) team in basketball. Despite the scorching start from the previous-leading Celtics, the Bucks kept steady and maintained their place in the standings until Boston got tripped up a bit (in the form of back to back losses against Orlando), and now here we are, in the top spot again. It feels good to be back, I hope we can stay a while. The Bucks will be without Khris Middleton again, as he continues working his way into form (and through some knee soreness).
Meanwhile, the Bucks are catching the Pellies in a bit of a slump. After two straight losses to Utah, the Western Conference’s current 3-seed gave up a huge comeback to the Phoenix Suns (behind Devin Booker’s 58 points) and are returning to Louisiana with a three-game losing streak. It’s likely that the Pelicans will have used their downtime to reset and take on a visiting Bucks team with renewed vigor, though they’ll have to do so without Brandon Ingram (toe) and Larry Nance Jr. (knee).
Player To Watch
As with any Pels game, Zion Williamson is the main reason many fans will be tuning in, but for Milwaukee the main guy to watch is Joe Ingles. Or, if this interview from The Athletic is any indication, perhaps Ingles is tonight’s Player To Hear:
I went around the Bucks' locker room with a simple question: When did you figure out Joe Ingles never shuts up?— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) December 19, 2022
The answers were quite entertaining and helped give a clearer picture of the Bucks' new old guy.
At @TheAthletic: https://t.co/IVbmsa1W9G
Bucks fans have eagerly awaited Joe Ingles’ arrival, despite the fact he signed a contract in the summer and has been a consistent presence with the team throughout. His off-court contributions make for a fun read; his on-court contributions remain to be seen. The 35-year old Aussie may not have as much pep in his step as his NBA counterparts, but with a savvy mind, broad court vision, and a reliable jumper, Ingles could help bolster the offense that remains prone to stalling out at times. Here’s hoping his first game back is a step in that direction!
Game 30: Against New Orleans, the Bucks will...
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