The 32-17 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 26-24 New Orleans Pelicans in Downtown Milwaukee at the Fiserv Forum. This is the second and final time this season these two teams will meet. Milwaukee won the first game in New Orleans 128-119. The game will be nationally broadcast on NBA TV. It appears everyone is still a “full-go” for the Bucks with Khris Middleton playing.
Related: Bucks injury report
Vegas has the Bucks as nine point favorites. New Orleans has lost its last seven games.
Tonight’s game starts a nice stretch of home games for Milwaukee. The Bucks play Charlotte Tuesday night at home, the LA Clippers at home on Wednesday on TNT and the Miami Heat on Saturday.
The NBA trading deadline is Feb. 9th. We’ll see this week if a move gets made.
Bucks Keys to Win
Rebound the Ball
Right now Milwaukee is second in the NBA in team rebounding with 48.3 rebounds per game. (Memphis is 1st- 48.7) This number speaks more to how the Bucks play as a team and play with toughness. For Milwaukee, when Giannis and Brook Lopez average over 18 rebounds between them, they win.
There is close to a two-rebound per game difference in home games vs road games for Milwaukee. For Milwaukee to win this game, they’ll need to be at/above that 50 rebound number. For New Orleans, Jonas Valanciunas will have something to say about that.
Valanciunas was on fire to start Game One vs the Bucks the first time around.
Get better play from their bench
As Milwaukee starts to sort out their rotations with the return of Middleton, who steps in now as that 6th man? With Bobby Portis injured my guess would be veteran Joe Ingles. He’s only averaging 21 minutes a game so you’d think that would go up quite a bit. Pat Connaughton seems to be pegged into more of a starter role so both Jevon Carter and Wes Matthews should expect to play more as well.
But what kind of production can we expect from Milwaukee’s bench? The scoring part matters, of course, but rebounding the ball and making the extra pass matter more. Can Milwaukee’s bench be more of a spark than a dud? We’ll see here over these next four games.
The Opponent: New Orleans Jazz Pelicans
New Orleans is another fast-paced, fun, high scoring team in that Western Conference built to keep up with the Golden State Warriors. (See Memphis and Phoenix.) They average 117 points a game, shoot a ton (and make) of threes and generally play undisciplined basketball.
Why have they lost seven straight? Well it hasn’t been because of tough competition with losses in that streak to Orlando and Washington.
Brandon Ingram is back. The rangy wing can drive and score.
Zion Williamson is back out. He plays like a brute, driving the ball hard into the basket to draw contact. Because of his style of play and size he is often injured. However, he did get nominated as a starter for the all-star game. He is having a fine season (26/7/4). What has been most impressive about his game has been shooting 60% from the field.
Really, CJ McCollum has been the glue that seems to hold the Pelicans together. Ever since coming over from Portland he has been the floor general this team has needed. Their fifth starter has been different most nights. Expect to see a lot of their first round pick from last year Trey Murphy III. The Virginia product shoots well at home. (Over 50% from the field.)
Herbert Jones also is a good power forward for the Pelicans. He’s also young and plays fast. However, he only shoots 27% from the field in his career so far against the Bucks.
Things to tell your buddies as you’re watching the game
- Brandon Ingram was the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 draft. The 25 year old is 6’8”.
- Ingram came to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade.
- While the Jazz started out as the New Orleans Jazz in 1974, moving to Utah in 1979, the New Orleans Pelicans started out as the New Orleans Hornets. They then had to move to Oklahoma City for two split seasons after damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Finally, in 2013 they ended up as the New Orleans Pelicans.
- New Orleans is averaging 115 points a game. They also give up around 114 a game.
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