Wednesday Night NBA Action- Bucks vs Nets Preview
The (22-8) Milwaukee Bucks take on the (15-15) Brooklyn Nets Wednesday in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. This is the second time these two teams have played this season. Milwaukee won game one of the season series (129-125). The game will be on Bally’s sports and on NBA TV.
Vegas has the Bucks as 59% favorites and 3.5-point favorites.
Brooklyn played in Detroit last night and won (118-112). With the loss, Detroit set an NBA record with 27 consecutive losses.
It will be an advantage for the Bucks that the Nets are on a back-to-back. It is also kinda sad the Pistons are so bad.
Milwaukee has really turned a corner since these two teams last played. While Milwaukee lost on Christmas Morning (The New York Knicks always have that Christmas Day ‘magic’, similar to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on opening day), the Bucks have really started to display a high powered offense. They are second in the NBA in scoring. They are, by most metrics, displaying a “top ten” defense”.
Milwaukee Bucks Keys to Victory
Play like you have Dame Lillard
Lillard needs to shoot more.
Over his career he has averaged 18.6 shots per game. This season he is barely averaging 17 shots per game (16.9). That might not seem like a huge difference but you’d like to see Lillard, arguably the team’s best shooter, shoot more.
Milwaukee and the guys on the team seem to forget that they do, in fact, have Damian Lillard on their team. Lillard is one of the 75 greatest NBA players of all-time.
Lillard is 12th in the NBA right now in scoring, averaging 26.3 points per game.
Play Some D: Keep the Nets below 115 points scored
Last night Brooklyn eeked out 118 points against a woeful Pistons team. The Nets offense runs through Mikal Bridges. He had 21 points last night on 6-14 shooting. For the Bucks, you might let Bridges get his 21 points. But then you make sure to stop Cam Johnson and Cam Thomas. It should be a winning formula.
Brooklyn, in terms of team scoring, averages 116 points a game.
In the win against the Spurs the Bucks gave up 119 points. And it shouldn’t have even been that much. In the Christmas Day loss to New York Milwaukee gave up 129. A few days earlier the Bucks kept the Knicks below 115 (111) and won.
So, if Milwaukee can “stay on schedule” and keep the Nets to under 58 points in the first half, that would bode well for a Bucks victory. They can do that by playing more aggressively, taking away the spacing of Nets players, closing out on shots and doing the next thing: control the glass.
Milwaukee led the NBA last year in team rebounding with 48.6 rebounds a game.
This season they are ninth averaging 44.7 rebounds a game.
That has greatly, greatly improved over the season.
Against Detroit the Nets only had 42 rebounds. Center Nic Claxton is their best rebounder but Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez should really be able to “body up” the thinner Claxton. Brooklyn does not have much in terms of a back-up center or height for that matter.
In the recent loss to New York Milwaukee had 44 rebounds. In the most recent win against the Knicks Milwaukee had 53 rebounds. 9 rebounds can make a huge difference in the flow and tempo of the game.
Overcome the home court advantage?
It has been fun researching if the Nets, do in fact, get any type of home court advantage. Similar to So-Fi stadium in LA, rumors abound that the Barclay’s center can be quiet as a church mouse. The Nets have never had a tremendous advantage there, record-wise.
The Nets were fine at home last season 23-18, but playing at the Barclays has never seemed like much of an advantage for them. Ever. If the Bucks can get off to a fast start, they should be able to negate any advantage even more.
The Opponent: The Brooklyn Nets
The Nets feel like a play-in type team that will meddle along this year, playing .500 basketball.
The team is in a little bit of a rebuilding mode. But the Eastern Conference isn’t as strong or as powerful as the West so they still could make the playoffs. They have some decent players. They are also coached by Jacque Vaughn, the former University Kansas point guard who could flat-out play.
Mikal Bridges can play. He is long, lean, and can score. Acquired in the Kevin Durant trade, he could truly blossom this season into an NBA star. He is second on the team in scoring with 21.3 points per game.
Cam Thomas is having a great start to his season. On pace to average a career high 23.5 points per game, Thomas is the starting shooting guard for the Nets. He is playing a ton- 33 minutes a game- and doesn’t turn the ball over much (less than a turnover a game).
Ben Simmons is out. Rumors abound if he will retire.
Cam Johnson is off to a slower start. He plays but hasn’t scored a ton yet (12.0 per game) Also, it was rumored that Johnson taking over the starting small forward role in Phoenix was the reason Jae Crowder sat out with the Suns.
Spencer Dinwiddle is the new-”old” point guard. (He is on his second stint with the Nets.) He can play.
Nic Claxton mans the middle but has been injured to start the year. He is out with an injured ankle.
The Nets seem like a team that has a ton of lean forwards.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Damian Lillard leads the team in assists this season with 7.0 per game.
- Lillard has had previous seasons where he has averaged as low as 5.2 assists per game. He seems to be happy passing the ball around more with his new team.
- Detroit just set a record with 27 consecutive losses. But, interestingly enough the do not have the league’s worst scoring offense. That honor belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies with 107.3 points a game. Detroit averages 109 points per game. Milwaukee averages 124.5 points per game.
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