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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trailblazers Preview: West Coast Boogie

On the road again

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Following a three day hiatus, the Milwaukee Bucks kick off a four game West Coast swing on Saturday evening against the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers are coming off of a back to back well the Bucks should be well rested outside of their flight to the northwest.

Where We’re At

The best news around cream city was that Khris Middleton joined his teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo as an All-Star selection in the Eastern conference this year. it was a bit of a surprise to see the now three time All-Star gets elected over his teammate Jrue Holiday who still has a chance to make the game as an injury replacement. Still, the more the merrier when it comes to exposure for the Milwaukee Bucks. In other potentially promising news it sounds like Brook Lopez is also joining the team on its trip, although solely to save the team on jet fuel I guess…

Regarding the on court product, the Bucks somewhat wiped away their embarrassing display of a 136 to 100 blow out at the hands of the Denver Nuggets with a fourth quarter smackdown of the Washington Wizards. Giannis willed the team to a win late ending with a triple double of 33 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Milwaukee could use a few wins to try and overtake the teams above them in the Eastern conference standings which are packed like sardines right now.

As for the Blazers, their season seemed doomed when Damian Lillard was announced out through potentially mid-March with abdominal surgery. They’ve scattered a few surprising wins in since, but they’re barely in the Play-in tournament and holding onto the spot for dear life against a really lackluster Pelicans squad. They seem like a team well in need of selling off parts, but their whole past few years remain a puzzling rollercoaster to me punctuated by a stubborn front office that’s now under new leadership. Fortunately for their fans, that process started yesterday by jettisoning Robert Covington and Bucks-killer Norman Powell to the Clippers.

That’s good news for Bucks fans, no excuse to lose now. The Blazer’s defense remains abhorrent, and the offense hasn’t been there to match this season. I guess new coach Chauncey Billups hasn’t cured all that many ails. That includes their Friday night loss against the Thunder, 93-96.

On the injury front, George Hill and Brook Lopez are both out.

The Blazers are without Dame.

Player to Watch

Khris Middleton struggled mightily against the Wizards shooting just 4 of 12 from the field and only racking up five boards and three assists. His season has deserved some hand- wringing, but he found his way in January somewhat with a pretty stellar 22 points, 6.4 boards and 5.7 assist average. His three-point percentage has been ticking up as the seasons gone along too. Still, the Bucks could use him to keep those strides going before the All-Star break and move them up the Eastern Conference ladder.


Game 54: Against Portland, the Bucks will...

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