The weather is cold, but the Milwaukee Bucks are heating up as they travel to Ohio to face their Central Divison foe, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams have consistently been in the top six of the Eastern Conference and will want a vital tiebreaker opportunity to take advantage of. The teams last played at the end of December, which saw the Bucks win in Cleveland 119-111.
Where We’re At
A week ago, we wondered if Milwaukee could get worse. The team was struggling and still having massive defensive problems while the offense could not bail them out. But the Bucks demolished the Boston Celtics, handled the Golden State Warriors, and saw Dame Time in full effect against the Sacramento Kings. Milwaukee has enjoyed playing at Fiserv Forum, while their road adventures have been sluggish recently. But overall, the Bucks seem to have re-figured things out and hope to continue creating some distance from the Philadephia 76ers in the playoff standings and catch the Celtics.
Cleveland is playing good basketball despite the injuries the team has faced. The Cavs have won five games in a row and seven of their last ten. Cleveland’s success can be attributed to their defense, which—like last season—ranks near the top of the league. Cleveland played the Chicago Bulls on Monday and walked away victorious despite not having Darius Garland for that game. Donovan Mitchell will be leading the team’s offense but NBA Champion Sam Merrill has been a spark plug off the bench with his shooting.
Jae Crowder is back!! The wing returns from adductor surgery and will see the floor tonight.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Jae Crowder – out for last two months with core muscle surgery – has been cleared to return to the lineup Wednesday vs. the Cavaliers in Cleveland, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Crowder is among Bucks leaders in minutes per game, impacting both ends. pic.twitter.com/WZlvD7hGEg— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 16, 2024
The only Milwaukee player currently listed as out is TyTy Washington Jr., who is on G-League duty.
Cleveland is feeling the pain. They currently have three players listed as out for a variety of injuries: Darius Garland (jaw), Evan Mobley (left knee), and Ty Jerome (right ankle). Caris LeVert is questionable with right wrist soreness.
Player To Watch
With his return, it will be interesting to see how many minutes Crowder will play and whose minutes decrease. It might be too much to expect Crowder to be the savior for the Bucks defense or continue shooting as well as he had from three, but his return could be a boost for Milwaukee down the stretch.
How To Watch
ESPN and Bally Sports WI at 6:30 PM CST.
Game 41: against the Cavs, the Bucks will…
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Win big (10 or more points)
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