Party like it’s 2002. Tonight marks the first time that the Bucks are playing on TNT (in the regular season) since December 5th, 2002. The new era of this Milwaukee team is sweeping across the nation, as the Bucks are finally receiving the attention they deserve in the national media spotlight. The game is also set to receive some high viewership as well, as the Bucks are taking on LeBron James and the Cavaliers for the second time this week. You can bet LeBron and company will be making tonight’s matchup personal, emphasizing its buildup in the locker room. Tonight shall be a thrilling matchup.
We can only hope the Bucks don’t put out a train wreck showing like they did a couple nights ago in Washington. That would tarnish Milwaukee’s reputation among the average NBA fan tuning in tonight and divert the team back to the “same old Bucks.” Tonight has the opportunity for Milwaukee to put on a show and show that they are worthy of holding the national spotlight more often than not. What better team to do it to than LeBron and the Cavs?
Now, even though any fan might hate to, let’s take a look back at the loss against the Wizards. It was surely one to forget. The game saw Milwaukee send Washington to the free throw line an outrageous 41 times, translating into 29 points for the Wizards. Personal foul trouble also resonated as a cancer to the Bucks, especially for Khris Middleton. The shooting guard was slicing up the Washington defense shot after shot but foul trouble eventually caught up to him and sent him to the bench. Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams were also absent on the offensive side of things, as Monroe only registered four points on a measly one-of-six shooting. Carter-Williams seemed to lose any competency of being a point guard, as he failed to rack up a single assist. For the Bucks to be victorious once again tonight against the Cavaliers, those two are going to have to make their presence known.
Diving into the Cavaliers scouting report, its safe to say that the Bucks victory may have rattled them. Following that game, Cleveland went into Detroit and fell to the Pistons by a score of 104-99. LeBron has been a sharp critic of his team’s performance, saying that he and his teammates are playing too soft and need to act tougher out on the court. The Cavaliers are riding a two game losing streak, and it’s a safe bet to say that LeBron is going to to all in his power to break that slide. Foul trouble cannot plague the Bucks tonight, especially with LeBron. He has a tendency of getting calls that other players in this league cannot receive, and he will use that to his advantage. Giannis Antetokounmpo will most likely be guarding James tonight. Therefore, it is imperative that Giannis guard him tightly yet doesn’t commit any fouls. If Giannis gets in foul trouble early, it could spell a quick exit for the Bucks.
A bright spot going into the game tonight is that both Jabari Parker and O.J. Mayo are expected to play. Parker missed the game in Washington due to an ankle sprain and was initially expected to miss the entire road trip, but he obviously feels comfortable enough to play in tonight’s game, which will aid the Bucks majorly. O.J. Mayo has finally healed from his hamstring injury, meaning he will be able to provide a spark off the bench that the Bucks desperately need. Watch for his three-point shooting to make an immediate impact.
Tonight shall be a fun night. Win or lose, it will be entertaining to see the Bucks finally playing on TNT during the regular season, as it signifies the direction that this team is headed.
Milwaukee Bucks (5-6, 2-3 Away) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3, 5-0 Home)
Quicken Loans Center | Cleveland, OH
7:00 pm CT
TNT | AM 620 WTMJ
PG Michael Carter-Williams
SG Khris Middleton
SF Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF Jabari Parker
C Greg Monroe
PG Mo Williams (questionable)
SG J.R. Smith
SF LeBron James
PF Kevin Love
C Timofey Mozgov