The streak was bound to end eventually, but it was the Milwaukee Bucks bad luck for it to come at the hands of the Sixers; they’ll look to immediately pick up the pieces on the road in the nation’s capital against the Washington Wizards. Having split the season series with Washington 1-1 (thus far), the Bucks will look to rebuild the momentum that boosted them to the East’s top seed as the regular season enters its most critical phase.
Where We’re At
In what turned out to be a top heavy slugfest between two of the East’s top teams, the Bucks had their 16 game winning streak halted in last night’s 130-133 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, and Grayson Allen would good for a combined 106 of Milwaukee’s 130 points with the only sore spot among those four being Giannis’s seven turnovers. Allen popped for 20 points on his own in the third quarter which, normally, would probably have put the game out of reach; then the Bucks promptly had 48 points hung on them in the final frame as the Sixers climbed out of a 14 point hole at the end of the third quarter to win. It was dramatic, frustrating, and, in its own way, entertaining which is the best you can ask for if you’re going to have a long winning streak broken.
The Wizards, meanwhile, have been the on-again, off-again squad deserving of their 30-33 record. Since the All-Star break they’ve gone 2-3 with the latest result being an overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors last night. Whether or not the game will be competitive will largely come down to whether Giannis plays. Last time the Bucks saw the Wizards, analyst Greg Anthony spent a good 15-20 minutes after the game openly mocking how limp Washington’s interior defense was against a roving Antetokounmpo who dropped 55 points on 20 of 33 shooting with 10 rebounds to go with it. Giannis has almost always had Kristaps Porzingis’s number, and while Daniel Gafford has the size to possible trouble Antetokounmpo, the speed and ability to read the court to get to the right spot at the right time consistently isn’t there. Of course, it is the second game of a back-to-back so we’ve come to expect both sides to sit a number of starters as a matter of course.
As of writing we are waiting on the injury reports for both teams, but note that Wesley Matthews was listed as day-to-day with a calf issue for Milwaukee; Monte Morris and Deli Avdija are also day-to-day with back trouble and an illness, respectively. We’ll update once we hear more.
UPDATE: Injury report is in and we have the following. Khris Middleton (right knee injury management) and Wes Matthews (right hamstring) are OUT for Milwaukee. Kyle Kuzma, Monte Morris, Isaiah Todd, Quenton Jackson, Jay Huff, Johnny Davis are all OUT and Deni Avdija is questionable with illness for Washington. Yeesh.
Player to Watch
While Giannis was busy ripping Washington to shreds in that 123-113 win, Brook Lopez was good for 21 points of his own on 10-13 shooting. Compared to Lopez, both Porzingis and Gafford are like toothpicks, and the Bucks have seen an excellent run of post play from Brook during their recently-ended winning streak. While Milwaukee continues to tinker with the forward pecking order, Brook remains a constant night in, night out, and even if Giannis sits, this is an ideal matchup to keep the center sharp from inside the three-point line.
Game 64: Against Washington, the Bucks will...
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