I can’t say a Milwaukee Bucks late season matchup with a tanking Washington Wizards game would normally garner much of my attention, but there are two distinct storylines worth watching from my perspective:
- Chasing the One seed
- Getting to watch former UW standout Johnny Davis finally snag major minutes
Non-Badger fans likely won’t care about the latter, but the necessity to win should be enough to drive interest even in these final few contests.
Where We’re At
Milwaukee is coming off one of their best wins of the second half of the season, putting it on the Philadelphia 76ers for a fairly impressive 117-104 win Sunday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo outplayed Joel Embiid en route to xx points, and Jrue Holiday was a persistent pest on Jim Harden. It couldn’t have come at a better time after the nadir of that Boston loss. They remain two games up and their magic number is 3 for the top seed.
Meanwhile, the Wizards are once again set for a decent pick, and would need supreme lottery luck to rocket up the draft boards. After trying for much of this year to remain competitive, they’re mired in no man’s land as they try their darndest to improve those lottery odds in the waning stages of this season by sitting their primary starters. Which brings us to Davis, the number 10 overall pick whose rough showing to start the year and in Summer League led to him essentially redshirting this year until recently. He hit double figures three of his last four games and got the start in the Wizards most recent loss against the Knicks. Baby steps, but as a Badger fan, he brings some crossover appeal to this game beyond the Bucks.
Milwaukee will be without a few key contributors, including Grayson Allen who left the Philly game with an ankle injury. Khris Middleton is also out, while Jevon Carter and Meyers Leonard are probable.
Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Monte Morris and Kristaps Porzingis are all out.
Player to Watch
Jae Crowder continues to be mixed into the rotation, and while his scoring output didn’t catch anyone’s eye against Philly, (0-5 for 0 points), but he certainly combined with Jrue Holiday to wreak havoc in the backcourt. It seems clear Bud is going to have him in the playoff rotation, so the more reps he gets to build rapport with his teammates, the better. Hopefully this low stakes opportunity can yield some positives.
Game 79: Against Washington, 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)