The Milwaukee Bucks are polishing off the fresh start of their newest winning streak, with another date against the Brooklyn Nets upcoming on Thursday night. Bud’s team is catching a break, with the Nets out a whole boatload of their primary rotation players. Meanwhile, it seems Milwaukee should have more reinforcements than they did on Tuesday.
Where We’re At
The Bucks continue to find ways to pummel out wins in pursuit of the top seed, and their fresh topping of the Orlando Magic came behind an unconventional big three — Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Jevon Carter. Between nailing three-pointers, porous defense by the Magic on the interior, and frequent trips to the free throw line, the offense busted through for a dominating performance. Giannis was able to snack on popcorn from the sidelines while Jrue Holiday nursed an ailing neck. Perhaps the most intriguing question (if Giannis and Jrue play tonight) is whether Khris Middleton will make his second straight start.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets are preparing for their second bout with the Bucks in as many weeks. It’s really a deja vu week in terms of matchups, and let’s hope it goes the same way as last week’s game. The Nets have been feisty since shipping out Kevin Durant, even knocking off the Celtics in the past few days. With their fleet of wings, they have plenty of potential for switching defense and forced the Bucks into sloppy play during the previous game. Thankfully, the Nets offered up their own crop of turnovers to provide Milwaukee with ample opportunities to retake the lead and they obliged. Brooklyn has rolled after that loss though, winning three straight including a recent upending of the Houston Rockets.
Milwaukee will be without Wes Matthews and Goran Dragic, while Giannis, Jrue and Jae Crowder are all listed as probable.
Brooklyn won’t have Nic Claxton, Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Johnson, Ben Simmons or Royce O’Neale.
Player to Watch
Pat Connaughton is in the midst of his worst three-point shooting year since his first two seasons in a Bucks uni, and Milwaukee needs him to find his groove come playoff time. He’s still launching plenty with 5.7 attempts per game, but hitting at merely 34%. With the Nets down so many players, this would be a good chance for him to up the volume and get his rhythm in order.
Game 66: Against Brooklyn, 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)