The NBA honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy with a full slate of games on the third Monday in January. Milwaukee will play the Hawks on MLK day at 5:00 pm on TNT in one of the marque matchups of the day. So far this year, these two teams have only played one time in three total scheduled meetings. Atlanta topped the Bucks 120-100 in their previous match-up, where Trae Young went for 42 points and Giannis scored 26. Each of these teams has struggled as of late and will look to get back on track tonight.
Milwaukee has played inconsistently as of late, dropping three of their last five games. The two games they did win, however, were impressive victories against the Nets and Warriors. The Bucks will look to get on a roll before two tough games against the surging Grizzlies and rival Bulls.
Atlanta has been a surprise to many in the Eastern Conference, and not in a good way. After surpassing expectations last season, they haven’t exactly lived up to the hype that surrounded the team coming into the season. The Hawks are currently riding a five game losing streak but shook things up this week by trading Cam Reddish to the Knicks. This could possibly be the first of a couple moves happening for Atlanta before the trade deadline.
Who’s In, Who’s Out?
Milwaukee fans have been frustrated with the recent absence of Jrue Holiday, and they will remain so as he’s already been ruled out. In addition, 10-day hardship contract signing Langston Galloway will also be sidelined, and Brook Lopez still remains without a timetable for return. That ends the Bucks injury report.
Atlanta has the same number of players on their injury report – two – but each one plays a significant role. Big man Clint Capela will be out with an ankle injury, along with Bogdan Bogdanovic who remains out with a knee injury. Each of these players would typically be starters.
Trae Young has been a scoring machine this season, averaging just north of 27 points per game. Milwaukee will look to give the All-Star guard different looks after he dropped 42 points on them in their first meeting. After Young, John Collins is the next leading scorer at 17 points per game, but his scoring is inconsistent. He will likely draw Giannis on the defensive end and vice versa. Outside of those two, Atlanta doesn’t have another player who averages more than 12 points per game who will be playing tonight.
Milwaukee has a more complete compliment of players alongside Giannis. With his length, John Collins will guard Giannis and try to keep him in check as best he can. Khris Middleton will likely see easier matchups, which bodes well for him having a big game. There should be a spotlight on the bench, which has struggled mightily lately.
Milwaukee opened up as five-point favorites this morning, and this game boasts the second highest over/under on the slate. The Bucks are 20-23 and the Hawks are 15-26 against the spread, respectfully. Atlanta’s defense has been suspect all season long. With both teams having yesterday off, they will look to get after it and put on a show for the national TV audience on MLK Day.
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