The Fiserv Forum stand will invariably be full of far too many LeBron James jerseys tonight as the Los Angeles Lakers stroll to town, but it’s all about Khris Middleton tonight as he returns to the Milwaukee Bucks lineup for the first time since getting injured in Round One against the Chicago Bulls last spring.
Where We’re At
ESPN Sources: Milwaukee Bucks All-Star forward Khris Middleton plans to make his season debut vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday (ESPN, 7:30 PM ET). Middleton has been recovering from July surgery on his left wrist. The Bucks are 15-5, second in the East.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 1, 2022
Who knows how many minutes Mike Budenholzer will give Middleton in his first action back (my guess is around 15 minutes), but it’ll be great to finally see our “do stuff” king back in the lineup. Alongside him, the team is coming off an ugly, but gutty win against the New York Knicks that featured putrid shooting all around from deep. With a meager five turnovers, the Bucks were able to muster just enough offense (thanks Grayson!) in the end to hold off a Knicks team that battered them on the offensive glass (35% compared to Bucks 22%’ DREB season average).
Big time bucket from Grayson!! pic.twitter.com/Uk7Ut7RwQc— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 1, 2022
Mitchell Robinson beat up Giannis and Brook Lopez about as much as any player I can remember down there, but I seriously doubt AD or LeBron have the interest in doing the same in this contest.
As for the Lakers, they’ve stabilized somewhat from their abysmal start and now stand at 8-12, but only 6.5 games out of first in the jumbled Western Conference. They’re coming off a 128-109 waxing of the injured Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday evening, behind 31 points from LeBron. With Darvin Ham visiting his old coaching buddies back in Milwaukee, he’s helped the team to this record primarily behind their defense. They’re in the top ten per Cleaning The Glass, but their offense is bottom-ten at the moment. And if you thought the Bucks 3-point shooting was rough to watch, it looks like Ham brought some of the Milwaukee postseason magic to LA, where they’ve hit merely 32.6% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Woof.
Player to Watch
Beyond the obvious, I’m actually interested to see how Pat Connaughton looks in this one. He played by far his most minutes of the season against the Knicks (23), but hasn’t been able to find the rhythm from deep at just 25% so far. Milwaukee could use his cutting, passing and shooting even with Middleton returning to the lineup, so here’s hoping more consistent play gets him back in the groove.
Game 21: Against the Lakers, the Bucks will.....
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