Happy New Year!
Authorial Note: This “preview” covers both home in-home games this week with The Washington Wizards. The goal here is to win BOTH home games.
The 23-12 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 16-21 Washington Wizards twice this week with both games at home. Why two at home? The general reasoning is to reduce in-season travel. The better answer seems to be that an NBA season is long- 82 games- and if you can squeeze in a couple of games here and there that is probably a good thing.
At the start of the year the Bucks had a back to back against Detroit. Now Washington is up. This seems to be a gift by the schedule makers set for the Fiserv. We only have one on the road. George Hill commented, “Yeah, now we can hopefully play some games in warmer weather during the colder winter months.” The Bucks will do this same thing down in Miami in a few short weeks.
These can be “trap” games. Boston got beat twice by Orlando this way. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are already listed as out. Washington has won its last 4 games.
Avoid injury: this has to be the most important one. We may see a Giannis “load management game” out of these two. It is still early in the season, to risk any type of injury to Giannis would have catastrophic consequences to the postseason. Middleton and Holiday are already out. Milwaukee should win them both but if you split, you split. Just stay healthy.
Keep shooting the three: The Bucks average 38 three point attempts a game. (Washington averages 34 per game) The Bucks and their offense is built around Giannis driving the ball and kicking it out to a shooter. It is working so far: keep shooting the three.
Keep Rebounding: The Bucks are back to being the best team, so far, in the NBA in terms of team rebounding. (The Bucks are also second in the NBA in blocked shots.) They are getting excellent interior play from Lopez, Bobby Portis and Giannis. If they keep that up, Washington will be very overmatched.
The Opponent: The Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal is a great player when he is healthy. That hasn’t been for a while. He has been in and out all year with a hamstring injury. He is in the first year of a $251,000,000 contract. Good for him. It is a “Giannis” type deal.
The goal was to pair him with Kristaps Porzingis and make a run at the playoffs. Porzingis is currently making $33,000,000 a year. He has one year left of his $158,000,000 a year contract. He doesn’t play much either.
Hopefully, after you read those last two numbers, you don’t look too closely at your W2 from 2022.
Porzingis should play against Milwaukee. It does not seem like Beal will.
Otherwise Washington has been going with a “twin tower lineup” with Porzingis and Daniel Gafford. Gafford is young and has a big body. (Did you know if you are over 7ft tall you have an 11% chance of being in the NBA.)
Monte Morris is a really hard-working, interesting player. The 2017 2nd round pick is having a great year. He is the only rostered “point guard” they have.
Kyle Zuma is having a career year. He plays, he scores and he facilitates.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- “Hey friend. Let me buy you a beer and tell you about wisportsheroics and some decent Bucks coverage. Happy 2023!”
- It is hard to not think about the Wizards franchise and remember them as the Washington Bullets. Depending on your perspective, you can make a line to this team being part of the original eight NBA teams.
- Michael Jordan played two seasons for the Wizards.
- The Wizards were the Bullets for forever. They rebranded in 1997.
- “His Dark Materials” is a cool show to watch. “White Lotus” is also excellent. But if you haven’t checked out the Serge Ibaka cooking show you aren’t missing much. The show is called “How Hungry are you?” It is weird. Check out a clip here.
- Serge Ibaka has an ever-present reputation as being a great big man who practices hard. His efforts have only helped Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis.
Follow me on Twitter at @authorrudylb and check out my other writings at www.rudylb.com. Follow us at @WiSportsHeroics! For all things Wisconsin sports, click here! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!