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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Preview: Looking for More

Party like its the last game of 2022

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Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Having given us a lump of coal on Christmas, you figured the Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t possibly go any lower. Then they lost to the Chicago Bulls... again. Now they’re back home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves to try and snap a four-game losing streak.

Where We’re At

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Giannis Antetokounmpo gives and Giannis Antetokounmpo takes. With Khris Middleton still off presumably working out the kinks in his brand spankin’ new cyborg knee (author’s correction: Khris has not undergone full knee replacement surgery, and indeed the knee that’s bothering him now is the opposite of the knee he sustained an injury to in last season’s playoffs) and Jrue Holiday down and out with non-Covid illness, Giannis looked at his career high 38.7% usage rate and demanded more. 46.8% against the Bulls, to be exact, and it looked like a mostly good idea the majority of the game. Then the closing minutes of the fourth quarter happened. Then he opted to brute force a hero ball victory. Then he had an ill-executed inbounds play. Then he shot a boggling 1-8 from the floor in overtime. Then the Bucks lost. Another signature historic Giannis performance tossed into the garbage bin of defeat while Milwaukee stumbles and bumbles onward.

At least misery loves company, and the Timberwolves will be bringing their own four-game losing streak to town. Like Milwaukee, most of the defeats have come at the hands of decent opponents (Dallas, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans). Also like Milwaukee the Timberwolves are perpetually stuck cooling their heels waiting for their core to be healthy and together for more than two games at a time to evaluate if there’s any there there. Karl-Anthony Towns has been out with a calf strain since the end of November and will be out a few more weeks, and even when he was available there wasn’t much gelling going on between him and Frenchman Rudy Gobert. Gobert’s numbers are down fractionally across the board, and his DREB% has taken an ~8% hit since last year. They’re an average defense and below-average offense with plenty of question marks about who they are and what exactly they can even be.

Khris Middleton is out with knee soreness and Jrue Holiday is doubtful due to illness.

For Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns, Taurean Prince, and Jordan McLaughlin are all out with calf, shoulder, and calf injuries respectively, and Kyle Anderson is doubtful with back spasms.

Player to Watch

Brook Lopez will have an interesting matchup ahead facing one of the league’s true paint-anchored centers in Rudy Gobert. Will he be able to keep Minnesota’s defense honest and/or make them pay for any space given on the perimeter? And how well will he manage covering Gobert’s on- and off-ball actions while helping protect the rim against a Timberwolves team that does hold the league’s fourth-best paint scoring percentage (69.6)?


Game 35: Against the Timberwolves, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (22 votes)
  • 39%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (27 votes)
  • 11%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (8 votes)
  • 17%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (12 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now

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