It’s not going to be an easy task, even as well as the Nets have been playing. They bring a 7-game win streak to the battle, while the Bucks bring their first-place 22-9 record.
One thing potentially working in the Nets favor is that they are at home, where they’re 11-5 and the Bucks are 8-6 on the road this season. Also, the Bucks have a Christmas Day game against the Celtics; could they be looking ahead to that marquee matchup? Maybe?
Well, either way, it would be nice to get this huge win ahead of the holidays.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (20-12) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (22-9)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. est
WHERE: NBA TV (national), YES Network (local tv and app), WFAN-FM (radio)
Since he came back from injury, Ben Simmons has averaged 24 minutes a game. He’s played quality ball for the most part as he’s starting to regain the aggressiveness he needs to be elite. He committed a few ticky tack fouls on Wednesday, and he can’t afford to have that happen tonight. If the Bucks go “small” the Nets figure to counter with Simmons at center. Either way, he’ll spend a good amount of time wrestling with Antetokuonmpo. A good showing here will do wonders for his confidence and help propel him even further in his comeback. Considering the level of competition, playing at least 30 minutes tonight will be a welcome development for Simmons.
Both of these teams have marquee matchups awaiting them after this one wraps up. Milwaukee will have a playoff rematch on the road against the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day while the Nets have a play-in rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers the day after in Cleveland.
Brooklyn’s rebounding has been better in December, and that’s going to be put to the ultimate test tonight. Milwaukee has been the best rebounding team in the East this year, and have bruisers like Giannis and Bobby Portis ready to own the boards. Portis in particular made life tough on Brooklyn in October as his 20 points and 11 rebounds paced the Bucks bench. With Watanabe less than 100 percent, this could be a night where Jacque Vaughn utilizes Markieff Morris a bit more. Size has come up as a point of contention for the Nets and it’ll take everyone to win the battle on the boards tonight.
For more on the Bucks check out Brew Hoop.