The 11-4 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 10-6 Portland Trailblazers in downtown Milwaukee at the Fiserv forum. The Trailblazers have played well away from home so far this year, going 6-2. However, Portland will be missing some key players tonight in Damian Lillard and Gary Payton II.
The Bucks will be without Khris Middleton and Wes Matthews but there was some promising news today on that front. Jrue Holiday is back and is expected to start. Giannis is dealing with left calf soreness and may or may not play. It seems like he will.
Vegas has the Bucks at a 79% chance to win the game and 9 point favorites.
Keys for the Bucks
Make their shots. Giannis did not have a very good performance at the line Friday night against Philadelphia. That led to “ladder-gate” and some strange scenes after the game. The Bucks (Lopez, Holiday…everyone) just need to get a little hotter and make their shots. We’ve got a great post here on how that has played out so far this year.
Keep rebounding. Giannis is second in the NBA in rebounding. The team is first overall still in team rebounding, averaging an even 50 boards a game. They need to keep controlling the glass.
The Opponent: The Portland Trailblazers
Jusuf Nurkic is an interesting big man. He is currently 11th in rebounding and is averaging 13 points a game. He’ll be a formidable opponent for the hot-start of Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis. He is a big body that really gets in the way, clogging up the post to the Blazers advantage.
Anferene Simmons is leading the team in scoring with 22.3 points a game. Josh Hart has been a good addition for Portland. He came over in the CJ McCullom trade and has been a strong scorer who hustles.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- The Blazers coach is Chauncey Billups. Billups had a good professional career as a guard for the Detroit Pistons.
- Shaedon Sharpe, the Blazers number one pick is only 19.
- The Bucks need to keep moving the ball around. Right now they are only 21st in the NBA in assists.
- The Bucks really haven’t blown out a team yet this year. They beat the Pistons in their second game pretty good (116-91) but that is their largest margin of victory. For my bettors out there be wary- a 10 point spread has been a lot so far for the Bucks.
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