With all three of their superpowered triumvirate back on the court, the Milwaukee Bucks unleashed a full-fledged assault on Monday night for a dominating win, but they face much stiffer competition this time around against the Denver Nuggets.
Where We’re At
Destroying the Pistons by 20 points was all about easing Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton back into the swing of things. What better team to do that against than a Wemby-hopeful and a roster intent on not playing defense (except for this one super athletic, shifting possession in the second quarter...and yup, the Bucks still scored). Giannis looked more “eased” than Khris of course, pouring in 29 points in just 27 minutes, but Middleton at least notched eight points and four assists (plus six turnovers but who’s counting?) The name of the game is chemistry for a unit that now features Joe Ingles, who figures to be a prominent part of their Playoff collection. It almost brought a tear to my eye seeing lineups with Jrue-Khris-Giannis-Joe and pick your Brook/Bobby. They’ll need every point they poured in on Monday to keep pace with this Nuggets team too.
Denver has catapulted themselves atop the Eastern Conference, led by surefire MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets are coming off eking out a one-point win over New Orleans on Tuesday night. The Joker’s passing is as delightful as ever, and with their full complement of offensive weapons around him, he’s been unleashed to his greatest potential — nearing a triple double average on the season (he’s at 9.9 assists!). Aaron Gordon is flying around with cuts and defense, while Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray can make rain from the outside. Interestingly, they don’t make hay from deep though, they rank in the bottom 10 in terms of shots from outside, while top three at the rim. That’ll be a great test for the Bucks interior defense tonight. My one plea: just please don’t double Jokic (if he plays).
For Milwaukee, Bobby Portis is out and MarJon Beauchamp is probable with a right wrist contusion. No injury report for the Nuggets yet, but I’ll be curious to see if Jokic plays given he was questionable Tuesday night but still played.
Player to Watch
Joe Ingles is my favorite non-superstar Buck to watch of the Bud era. Every time he steps on the court I immediately perk up. Finally seeing how he might mesh with the rest of the big three and how he holds up defensively against an offensive juggernaut will be another delightful morsel from tonight’s proceedings.
Game 48: Against Denver, the Bucks will...
This poll is closed
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)