Where We’re At
Where are we at? It’s an excellent question. Logistically, we are 3-2 and 1-0 in the in-season tournament after holding off Jalen Brunson and the Knicks on Friday night. Existentially, I’m not sure. I’m increasingly interested in the question “whose team is this?” It seems like Adrian Griffin’s team—for better and (mostly?) for worse. Despite being a first-year coach, he is implementing his system on both sides of the ball, personnel be damned. In part, he’s able to do so having received Giannis’ endorsement; it’s fundamentally Giannis’ team, so that goes a long way. But Giannis has looked off to start the season, as he shakes off rehab-oriented offseason rust and adjusts to playing with Dame. Ultimately, at least on the court, I’d like to see the Bucks become Dame’s team. Give the ball in his hands to shoot, drive, or kick to Giannis for a flying lay-in, with Griffin calling peripheral adjustments as needed.
The Nets come into tonight sitting 3-3. However, with the loss column filled with close L’s to the Cavs, Mavs, and Celtics, the Nets faithful are feeling bullish, especially after defeating the Bulls in the in-season tournament (they’ve also defeated the Hornets and Heat). Indeed, the subtitle from a recent piece in the wake of the Heat victory reads, “Has there ever been a 2-2 team as promising and exciting as these Brooklyn Nets? Don’t answer that.” Cam Thomas is averaging 26 points a game and still going strong, a welcome development for a newly starless team in need of folks to close out games.
The Bucks have a clean slate. For the Nets, Nic Clayton (left ankle sprain) and Cam Johnson (left calf strain) are both out, whereas Lonnie Walker IV is probable (left knee soreness). Look to the Bucks to exploit their apparent leftside weakness.
Player To Watch
Is Brook Lopez’s eight-(!)-block performance on Friday a harbinger of things to come? How about his ten 3PAs? As I asked in last week’s Questions and Antlers (*subtle nudge*), Brook is a case study of whether Griffin sticks to his guns or adapts to his personnel. Friday was encouraging, but let’s see it again.
How To Watch
Bally Sports WI at 6:30 PM CST.
Game 6: against the Nets, the Bucks will...
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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)