Fresh off a preseason opener that inexplicably turned into an actual basketball game, the Milwaukee Bucks take their perfect 1-0 record on the road to face the Memphis Grizzlies. Will tonight mark the (exhibition) debuts of A.J. Green, Chris Livingston, Cam Payne, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Damian Lillard? We tune in to find out.
Update: Giannis, Khris, and Dame are out.
Bucks coach Adrian Griffin tells reporters that Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Khris Middleton will not play tonight.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) October 10, 2023
AJ Green, Chris Livingston and Cam Payne are back in action.
Where We’re At
As my colleague Jackson detailed in his game recap, Sunday’s 105-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls did not have an auspicious beginning. That a hot shooting start for the Bulls didn’t deter the Bucks from bouncing right back with a prolific quarter of their own is encouraging. With a pecking order still to be worked out and potentially a spot in the starting lineup up for grabs, positive performances will get noticed, especially from younger players. In that department the likes of MarJon Beauchamp (18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists) and Andre Jackson Jr. (4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, defense) delivered. Can they string together two good nights in a row? The same will be asked of vets like Jae Crowder and Malik Beasley, and perhaps a few other names who didn’t appear against the Bulls — Giannis, Dame, Green, and Livingston were all able to practice yesterday, though their final status is TBD.
For the Grizzlies, they were able to knock off the Indiana Pacers in a 127-122 overtime victory on Sunday. Led by solid showings from regular starters Jaren Jackson Jr. (18 points, 5 rebounds) and Desmond Bane (17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists), Memphis would end the night with six players scoring in the double-digits. With the whole team going a combined 8/38 from three, 78 of Memphis’s points would come from the paint instead. That should provide an interesting challenge for a Bucks team that held the Bulls to merely 38 paint points. Derrick Rose started at PG in place of Ja Morant who is prohibited from playing in preseason games while awaiting his upcoming 25 game suspension. Brandon Clarke is still recovering from a torn achilles, while Marcus Smart was held out with abdominal soreness.
Player to Watch
Given the size of Memphis’s two big starting lineup (JJJ and Steven Adams), I’ll pick Brook Lopez as the guy to watch for Milwaukee, at least to start. Lopez will continue to be the fulcrum around which the Bucks defense turns, and it will be interesting to see how he evolves in a more aggressive team concept, especially if other starters like Giannis and Dame are also active.
Desmond Bane will be the guy to watch for the other side. He’s a great shooter and generally prolific scorer from all around the floor who helps balance out Memphis’s normal starting lineup featuring JJJ, Ja Morant, and the paint-bound Adams. Will one of the young guys get a shot at the starting lineup to face down Bane?
(Editor’s note: as usual for the preseason, the preview will double as our game thread.)
Preseason Game 2: Against the Grizzlies, 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)