For one, the Bucks are trending on “head and shoulders above the rest of the NBA” territory, as the only team in the league with a +.700 winning percentage.
They are pretty much unbeatable at home, carrying a 27-6 record. And the Brooklyn Nets are down five - yes, FIVE - key players to their already, um, questionable roster.
No Ben Simmons (left knee/back soreness) which we expected. On Wednesday afternoon, however, the Nets listed four other players as out for the first game of the back-to-back: Nic Claxton (right thumb sprain/left Achilles tendinopathy); Royce O’Neale and Cam Johnson (both left knee soreness); as well as Spencer Dinwiddie (rest.) David Duke Jr. and Dru Smith are expected to play for Long Island Thursday. That will leave 10 players available to Jacque Vaughn.
The Nets do have a 3-game winning streak in their back pocket, but really it feels like there’s just no shot at them going into Milwaukee and beating the Bucks.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (37-28) at Milwaukee Bucks (47-18)
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. est
WHERE: YES Network (tv and app), WFAN-FM (radio)
Noel looked pretty solid in his Nets debut. His presence will be crucial tonight as the Nets try to stay close to the Bucks on the boards. Milwaukee won the rebounding battle by 17 in the last meeting, and having more size against this team will help. Noel and Day’Ron Sharpe will look to get boards against Bobby Portis, Brook Lopez, and the rest of the Bucks.
With Holiday less than 100 percent, Jevon Carter will handle starting lineup responsibilities. Carter has exceeded all expectations since joining the team and has
A healthy Khris Middleton will determine a lot for the Bucks. He’s the second scorer and someone you can trust to get their own shot when the game is late and close. He’s been coming off the bench since returning from injury, and it’s been a struggle for him. His field goal and three point percentages are at career lows, but the job for the Bucks is to get him through the regular season and hope he’s got enough juice to last in the playoffs.
For more on the Bucks, check out Brew Hoop.