Author’s note: The preview doubles as the game thread post for all preseason games.
Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said on NBA Today just now that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dame Lillard will make their debut together in Milwaukee’s preseason game against the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 11, 2023
Where We’re At
The Bucks were last seen in Memphis this past Tuesday in the second game of their preseason. They’d go on to lose that contest to the Grizzlies, 102-108. Through two exhibition contests the only rock-solid starter we’ve seen play thus far is Brook Lopez — Giannis, Lillard, and Khris Middleton have all been held out up ‘til now, and while Malik Beasley is the presumed fifth starter, there may still be something of competition for that spot. While Middleton’s status for tonight’s game is to be determined, we’ll probably have a better grasp of who coach Adrian Griffin thinks his starting unit will be heading into the regular season based on tonight’s lineup. Oh, and Giannis and Dame P&R. We get that, too.
For the Lakers, this will somehow be their fifth preseason game with the latest result being a 125-129 defeat to the Golden State Warriors. Friend of Milwaukee Darvin Ham is doing his own starting lineup shuffle to find the right fit around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. So far it looks like recent free agent arrival Taurean Prince is the favorite to start alongside Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell. For the millionth year in a row, a coaching staff will do its best to force Davis to play a heavy dose of minutes at center (even if he would rather not) and are also looking to have him take at least six three-point jumpers a game. Good luck with that. Ham will have to contend with other Friend of Milwaukee Christian Wood who is on his eighth team in nine years, alongside other recent acquisitions like Gabe Vincent (who left Miami in FA) and Cam Reddish (also a FA). There is upside on the roster in theory, but God only knows if it’ll come together to be something.
During preseason NBA teams are not obligated to provide regular daily health updates for their players, so we’re a little in the dark here. Per hearsay, all Bucks except Khris Middleton should be healthy and available. Khris was listed as day-to-day (knee) prior to Tuesday’s matchup against the Grizzlies, but we’ve no news on him so far. LA missed Gabe Vincent (back spasms), Cam Reddish (ankle), and Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) v. Golden State and no status changes have been made for those three as of publication.
Player to Watch
Damian Lillard. Need I say more? With luck, we’re about to witness the start some of the finest offensive guard play in franchise history. Words and analysis can come later. Be excited!
Austin Reaves will be worth a watch on the other side. He had already taken something of a leap in his sophomore season, and who can forget him torching the Grizzlies in Memphis in G1 of last year’s first-round matchup? He took on the role of gunner and do-stuff guy for Team USA over the summer at the FIBA World Cup, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see his usage continue to rise (which will inevitably piss of Russell who will inevitably do his best to torpedo this Lakers season — that’s just how stuff works).
How to Watch
The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Preseason Game 3: Against the Lakers, the Bucks will...
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