Playing just a hint above .500 will continue until morale improves.
The game against the Atlanta Hawks this Wednesday represents the actual halfway point of the season and we couldn’t be reaching it in more stultifying form. Milwaukee goes through the motions and wins some, goes through the motions and loses some, and it all trudges forward in a modern-day take on “Waiting for Khrisdot”. If Godot is, in one interpretation, a manifestation of a sort of personal omniscient god, it makes sense to cast Khris Middleton in that role these days. The longer he is gone, the greater the power we assign to his person in making sense of this senseless team, the greater the power, the longer that wait feels.
It is a lot to put on a 31 year-old who might just have iffy knees the rest of the year. Right now, it’s about all we got to hang our hats on in justifying hanging around in expectation of his arrival.
And hopefully I will never have to see it again after I thoroughly bleached both of my eyes in the immediate aftermath of that game. If you’re a masochist who would enjoy reliving every detail of the win that almost wasn’t, here’s the link for you.
Giannis Antetokounmpo just ran off a five-game stretch that the NBA hasn’t seen in 50 years (CBS Sports)
It is a good thing this stretch without Khris and Jrue came with Giannis at the peak of his powers or we’d be getting absolutely spanked on a nightly basis. But thanks to our good fortune we get to enjoy watching one man put up stat lines not seen since the 60s and 70s in some cases. Painful that Giannis needs to capably score 40+ for us to win, enjoyable that he’s been able to do it consistently in the teeth of defenses who have nobody else they must pay much attention to.
NBA Trade Intel: “Burbling Noise” That Middleton May Opt Out (Action Network)
No sourcing, a descriptor that would make anyone question what the hell they’re reading, and a nugget of information all wrapped into one. Such are the ripples emanating from the continued absence of Khris Middleton who, according to Matt Moore, is creating “burbling noise” about his opting out of his $40 million player option this coming offseason.
‘My heart bursts of pride.’ Love for Giannis Antetokounmpo runs deep for Greek Raptors fans (Toronto Star)
Always appreciate the crowds of Greeks who cheer Giannis on wherever he goes across the nation. Also appreciate the quotes in this piece from Greek fans making clear that they have zero love for the Bucks lol. Can’t win them all over!
Why NBA is seeing unprecedented scoring boom as Giannis, Luka, Donovan Mitchell, more post eye-popping totals (CBS Sports)
An interesting question in which both the offensive and defensive play is apparently at their highest levels ever, yet it is the scoring half of the game that is on rocket fuel. Between the three-point shot and general reffing disincentivizing anything more than a moderate amount of contact between offensive and defensive players, a scoring revolution makes perfect sense. Just make sure someone tells the refs about more than moderate contact being illegal when they referee Giannis, too.
Can’t lose to the Nets in the playoffs if we don’t make it far enough in the bracket to even play them...
Obviously, if we faced almost any East playoff team of note right this minute it’d be an excruciating experience with the outside threat of it becoming a laugher with a quickness. That’s why we should remain thankful we’re only at the halfway point now and aren’t slogging through it like this in April/May (yet).
Nikola Jokić’s MVP Case Is Hidden In Plain Sight (Again) (FiveThirtyEight)
Statistically (on offense especially), Jokic’s case is nearly unimpeachable. His team also looks like it will rack up enough wins to vie for a top seed out West as well. The biggest mark against him, then, will be the fact that he’s already won it twice in a row. I’m frankly not sure there is any level of leap a two-time MVP could make in the third season to win over enough voters to back him a third time so long as there is a plausible second candidate waiting in the wings.
Have you ever heard of a $40 million question? Because OjaB has, and it's “What’s going on with Khris?” Is knee soreness a euphemism for hashing-out-a-gigantic-contract-extension or trade talks? Is his knee sore like all he needs is some courses of Icy-Hot or are we looking at a Lonzo Ball situation where Khris is never the same person ever again? Is it all benign cover for an extended period of rest for the aging star? The true answer to that question would carry almost unbelievable amounts of weight!
Know Your Enemy
New York Knicks - Posting & Toasting - If the universe is just, the Knicks will beat the Bucks
- This was a funny one to read. It is rare you get anti-Antetokounmpo propaganda sent out into the world, but this piece managed to swipe Giannis “the ladder killer” and Thanasis “the dangerous try hard” all in one go. Congrats to the author and good luck tonight.
Atlanta Hawks - Peachtree Hoops - Little Matters for Hawks until Organization is Stabilized
- Atlanta has recently gone through more than a smidge of internal turmoil — star player just didn’t show up to a game to boycott the coach, coach had to reiterate that he isn’t actually going to retire any day now, the President of Basketball Ops got kicked upstairs in favor of Landry Fields, etc. — so some consternation is understandable. Thankfully for them they have the Bucks on their upcoming schedule.
- Replace “Miami Heat” with “Milwaukee Bucks” and the Heat player names with Bucks player names and this would neatly sum up a lot of the feelings on this site since the start of December.
The Social Media Section
...we can fix him
This is P.J. Tucker's shot chart from 3 this season. He doesn't look at the rim above the break whatsoever. The Sixers need to stop letting him initiate Delay sets up top. He's a total nonfactor and the defense knows it. pic.twitter.com/lCBB2ba8Im— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) January 7, 2023
Very few global superstar athletes would compare the state of the season to a SpongeBob Squarepants scene. We have the one of one in Milwaukee.
Continue building good habits. pic.twitter.com/8SpvsvB32V— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) January 7, 2023
Why did he even post this lol
Also, Slovakia, welcome to Bucks Nation. Pick up your “#FireBud” avatar welcome email sent to you.
He really is Georgian Christian Wood who has spent too much time with Serge
Bobby is for the mentors and the community
Last night we were able to recognize Rebecca Numann with @WeSecureFutures as our Mentor of the Game powered by Bobby Portis!— Bucks Community (@BucksCommunity) January 7, 2023
Thank you @BPortistime for helping us celebrate mentors throughout the season, but especially during #nationalmentoringmonth! pic.twitter.com/B9zV9OI137
Remember to send a prayer for us watching at home or in the arena
Pray for someone, it’s not always about you— MarJon Beauchamp (MJB) (@Marjon32) January 6, 2023
Riley’s 2022-2023 Weekly Prediction Record: 16-23
Milwaukee’s Actual 2022-2023 Record: 25-14
Four games this week all on the road, starting tonight in New York against the Knicks, Wednesday against the Hawks in Atlanta, and then a two-game series in Miami on Thursday and Saturday. That feels like two built-in schedule losses in Miami and a wild goose chase in the other two games. I’ll say 1-3 this week with a win over the Knicks while Atlanta shoots 6,000% from the floor and we’re too drunk/hungover/jet lagged to beat the Heat in either game.