As Etta James famously said, it is now appropriate to yell, “At Last!” After three scrimmages against the Spurs, Kings, and Pelicans, the number one team in the Eastern Conference officially begins their quest to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in the Orlando bubble. The Bucks restart will begin with the Boston Celtics on Friday, July 31st, at 6:30 p.m. E.T. on ESPN. Heading into March, the Bucks had the best record in the NBA, sitting at 53-12, 6.5 games in front of the two-seed Toronto Raptors. Fortunately, that has not changed, and these last eight games of the regular season restart can show Bucks’ fans why their excitement should still be just as high as it was then.
As of now, Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton have arrived inside the bubble after having delayed their initial trip with the team because of positive COVID-19 tests. Bledsoe and Connaughton are on their way back into playing shape, while Coach Budenholzer has the luxury of depth to not rush them into action.
July 31st vs. Boston (ESPN, 6:30 p.m. E.T.)
August 2nd @ Houston (ABC, 8:30 p.m. E.T.)
August 4th vs. Brooklyn (NBATV, 1:30 p.m. E.T.)
August 6th vs. Miami (TNT, 4:00 p.m. E.T.)
August 8th vs. Dallas (ESPN 8:30 p.m. E.T.)
August 10th vs. Toronto (ESPN, 6:30 p.m. E.T.)
August 11th @ Washington (9:00 p.m. E.T.)
August 13th @ Memphis (TBD)
Three Takeaways for Remainder of Regular Season
Takeaway Number One: How Do the Bucks Compete with Good Teams?
Of the remaining eight games, Milwaukee will face six teams with records above .500, getting a chance to play against some top competitors in the East. Throughout the season, Miami, Boston, and Toronto have been talked about as teams that could potentially trouble the Bucks. Milwaukee now has a chance to see how they stack up against those opponents with the playoffs looming. Additionally, they will face MVP candidate Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, rookie star Ja Morant and the Grizzlies, and Russell Westbrook and James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
Takeaway Number Two: Bucks’ Overall Chemistry?
This one could be interesting. A common theme among this entire restart is there is no real momentum, giving each team equal opportunity to try and get ahead or back on track with their chemistry. For the Bucks, this should be fun to see. Everyone is aware of the effect Giannis has on each possession, as well as All-Star Khris Middleton, but our eyes should be on Eric Bledsoe, who is still under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the month. Even if there is any worry about the starting unit, Milwaukee luckily boasts one of the deeper benches in the league.
Takeaway Number Three: Bucks’ Usage of Giannis?
The NBA Awards Voting will wrap up on July 28th, leaving Coach Budenholzer with a decision heading towards the postseason. How much does Giannis need to play? The leading MVP and DPOY candidate has averaged 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1 steal in just 31 minutes. Most importantly, last time we saw Giannis in action, he missed two straight games with a knee injury. With time off and the Bucks having the one-seed in their sights, there may be a good chance that the Greek Freak gets to rest some for what should be a memorable playoff run.
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