The 12-5 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 12-6 Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night in downtown Milwaukee at the Fiserv forum. This is the second time these teams have played with the Bucks winning game one 113-98. Kevin Love and Khris Middleton will be out for both teams just like game 1 where neither team was at full-strength. But in basketball there is only one ball. Can Giannis (30.5 ppg) outshine Donovan Mitchell (30.1 ppg) ? Tonight certainly should be an entertaining game.
The Cavs are coming off an impressive win vs the Trailblazers while the Bucks are coming off a tough home loss vs the Bulls. The Bucks are 2.5 point favorites.
Keys for the Bucks
Establish the interior
The Bucks right now are getting some great interior play from Brook Lopez and Bobby Ports. Lopez has been in quite a few defensive player of the year conversations. The Cavs also have two really good interior players in Jarret Allen (he didn’t play in game 1) and Evan Mobley. What the Cavs have in youth, the Bucks have in experience. It’ll be a key for the Bucks to rebound the ball and keep the Cavs off the glass.
If the Bucks can outscore the Cavs in the paint, that bodes well for the Bucks.
Get a solid bench rotation going
There have been a lot of players in and out for the Bucks this year. But like NHL Hockey or an MLB pitching rotation, getting a solid rotation of players going is key-critical.
Where does “Planet” Pat or Jordan Nwora fit in terms of minutes? These games leading up to the Bucks Christmas showcase in establishing their roles is important. The Cavs are also a deep team. Making sure that the rotation is right is important.
The Opponent- The Cavaliers
The Cavs and young and streaky. What the Bucks have in experience, the Cavs have in youthful exuberance. This time around the Cavs have seemed to hit all of the right notes through the draft and have added some good young players.
Jarret Allen is a good interior defender. He is playing tonight, averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds per game. He’s 5th in the NBA in rebounding. Evan Mobley is the same. Taken 3rd overall in the 2021 draft, Mobley is averaging around 15 points a game and 8 rebounds. He can play.
The backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland continues to be impressive. Garland just scored 51 against the Timberwolves on last Sunday. Mitchell is averaging 30 points per game. They play very well together and Garland does a good job of distributing the ball.
Things to tell your buddies while you are watching the game
- With so much going on with the World Cup, it is cool to know Jrue Holiday’s wife is a star soccer player. Read more here.
- Milwaukee leads the all-time series 129-97.
- Jarrett Allen, the University of Texas alumn, is back. The center for the Cavs is in that “sweet spot” of an NBA career at 24 yrs old. He recently signed a 5 yr- 100 million dollar deal. Many are considering that deal now to be a steal for the CAVS.
- Neither team passes the ball a ton to find the open man. The Cavs can be selfish at times, only averaging 24 assists per game. The Bucks are a tick less selfish, averaging 24.2 assists per game. Both teams are in the bottom half of the NBA in passing.
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