“Getting the band back together”
The 30-17 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 34-14 Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night in beautiful downtown Milwaukee at the Fiserv, riding some good vibes in seeing both Giannis and Khris on the court at the same time! Milwaukee won Monday night vs Detroit 150-130. Denver has a decent road record at 12-10.
For Milwaukee Bobby Portis is out with a right knee sprain.
For Denver both Michael Porter Jr. and Bones Hyland are out. Denver also played last night and is on a back-to-back. Because of that and being at home, Milwaukee is 7 point favorites.
We all here at Wi Sports Heroics are shocked this one is not on national tv. A realistic NBA finals possibility, both these teams feature MVP-Caliber superstars and both of these teams have had a great start to their season. Denver is the number one seed in the Western Conference while Milwaukee is the number three seed.
Start making more shots
The Bucks are 18th in the NBA in scoring (113 points per game). Defensively they only give up around 111 points per game, hence their pretty strong record.
But when it comes to shooting, it is time to get some guys to get hot. Jevon Carter is shooting at a 40% clip; so are Joe Ingles and Marjon Beauchamp. Giannis leads the team in field goal percentage at 52%.
Milwaukee’s team field goal percentage is an abysmal 23rd in the NBA at 45%. That is twos. From the three point arc Milwaukee is much better (17th in the NBA). It is time to start getting some guys hot.
Keep shooting the three
The Bucks average 39 three point attempts a game. (Denver only averages 30 per game, second lowest in the NBA) The Bucks and their offense is built around Giannis driving the ball and kicking it out to a shooter.
So who needs to make some threes? How about “Planet Pat” or the “Great Grayson” or “Splash Mountain”? These veterans, along with some “Kash Money” Middleton work, need some solid productivity from behind the arc.
Out Rebound Denver
If you read this space you know there is a true ”obsession” with keeping track of the team rebounding battle. Denver is not a terrible rebounding team but they aren’t as strong as Milwaukee. (2nd vs 18th) If Milwaukee can out rebound the Nuggets by say, 10 total rebounds, that bodes well for the Bucks.
The Opponent: The Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic (aka The Joker) is the real deal. He leads Denver in scoring, rebounding and assists. The former second round pick (43rd overall) is really, really good. He is 16th in the NBA overall in scoring, 6th in rebounding and 2nd in the NBA in assists. It usually is that amazing assists number that catches fans off-guard.
The Nuggets have a great head coach in Michael Malone. His system fits the team’s personnel. It puts an emphasis on dribble handoffs. The Bucks will also run dribble handoffs but not at the volume the Nuggets do. With Jokic at that “point forward” position, why not?
Jamal Murray is back for Denver and he has made a huge difference this season. Averaging 18/4/5, he is the #2 complement to Jokic that makes the Nuggets go.
Aaron Gordon is also having a good season for Denver. The former number 4 overall pick Has really shot the ball well (58% from the field).
The Nuggets are like the Bucks in that they are loaded with veteran talent. Kentavarious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown and Jeff Green are not new to the NBA.
Christian Braun was the Nuggets number one pick (20th overall) in last year’s draft. Picture AJ Green but two inches taller. He is a shooter.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Nikola Jokic has a long way to go to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for career assists by a center. (5,700 vs 3,600). Then again, Jokic has only played in a ⅓ of the games Abdul-Jabbar has.
- Jokic is listed as a true seven footer. He weighs 284 pounds. I have friends that weigh 284 pounds- they ain’t seven feet tall!
- Brook Lopez did not play so hot vs Denver last season, averaging 12.5 points per game and 0 blocked shots.
- Denver leads the all-time series vs Milwaukee 63-38.
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