Milwaukee Bucks game previews between November 14 and November 20, including games against: Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors.
Inconsistency is going to be this season's theme with the Bucks, isn't it. This week has been hell, losing two of the ugliest games of the year against two winless teams is not a good look for a Bucks team that started off 4-2. They managed to salvage the week solely with their dominant 106-96 win over the Grizzlies Saturday night. Giannis capped off the week with a very impressive 27pt/6reb/5ast/4blk/4stl performance as he rebounded from a relatively lackluster game against the Pelicans on Thursday. Notable performances outside of Giannis include Jabari, who scored 33 points against the Pelicans, and Michael Beasley who scored 19 points in a mere 19 minutes of action against Memphis. Jason Kidd finally decided to switch it up and yank Miles Plumlee from the lineup and inserted lengthy shot-blocker John Henson in his stead. Henson certainly did a much better job than Plumlee did in all of his previous games as the starter, and we shall see if Kidd continues to give Henson more minutes than Plumlee.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away
I think Dwight Howard is a top 5 center in the NBA and I believe he was unfairly villainized during his time on both the Lakers and Rockets. Now with that out of the way, time to look into how the Hawks are faring so far. Sitting at a very comfortable 7-2, the Hawks look the best they ever have in terms of creating a team that is next in line of losing to the Cavaliers in the Conference Finals. Howard has single-handedly solved their rebounding problem (looking at you Al Horford), Schroder has looked much better than Jeff Teague, Millsap's still an absolute stud on both ends of the floor, and their bench is nothing to sneeze at. Simply put, the Hawks are good to very good in nearly every aspect of basketball and have very few weaknesses to exploit.
The Bucks will certainly struggle against the Hawks as they will be unable to take advantage of old man Korver on the defensive end since Tony Snell can't create off the dribble. I would love to see a throw in of Teletovic to the starting lineup and force Korver to guard one of Giannis or Jabari, but I doubt that Kidd would try that as he seems quite set in the 1-4 positions in the starting lineup. Jabari and Giannis will have fits trying to score since they will be guarded by Bazemore and Millsap, lengthy defenders who are but the first line of defense that ends with defensive fiend Dwight Howard. The Bucks will need to hit many jump shots early on to open up the floor for the rest of the game, but even then the slashing nature of both Jabari and Giannis will struggle against this tough Atlanta defense.
Thursday, 17 November 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away
I feel for the Heat fans, losing a franchise cornerstone Dwyane Wade due to the front office's inability to dish out some extra cash is certainly not an easy pill to swallow. Regardless we now get to look into the post-Wade era Heat a little earlier than expected, and I think most Heat fans would agree with me saying it isn't too pretty outside of a few bright spots in Winslow, Whiteside, Richardson, and (the now injured) Goran Dragic. Even these bright spots honestly aren't too bright outside of Winslow and Whiteside since Richardson is still inconsistent and Dragic comes along with a big contract that he probably won't live up to. Sitting at a paltry 2-6, it looks as though the Heat may be trying to make the most out of their last year, for a while, with a draft pick and do a little tank job to put themselves into a better position for the future. Dragic's availability is still uncertain due to his sprained ankle, but as he is listed as day-to-day, he may be back to participate in Thursday's game.
There are only two people on the Heat that the Bucks need to worry about on defense, Hassan Whiteside, and Justice Winslow. Players like Derrick Williams, Luke Babbitt, and Dion Waiters pose little threat to the offensive talents of Giannis, Jabari, and Michael Beasley. As Winslow will almost certainly be guarding either Giannis or Jabari, it leaves the other to attack and create almost at will, especially if Erik Spoelstra throws out the Richardson/Waiters/Winslow/Babbitt/Whiteside lineup again. Not only do the Heat struggle on the defensive end, but with the loss of Wade they now lack a go-to guy on offense outside of Whiteside, but even he doesn't have a notable post-up game. Honestly, I don't see the Bucks losing this one unless they play like they did against the Mavericks and completely forget how to play the game of basketball.
Golden State Warriors
Saturday, 19 November 2016 at 08:30 PM ET Home
24-1. The most exciting part of the Bucks season last year was obviously handing the Golden State Warriors their first loss of the season, effectively ending their historic 24 games winning streak to open up the season. Now there's obviously no big streak as the Warriors have already lost two games this year, but the hype surrounding them has only grown with their addition of Kevin Durant in the offseason. The Bucks last year gave the Warriors all they could handle as they seem to match up really well with Golden State and I think we'll see more of the same this year. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Bucks managed to upset the Warriors yet again. That being said, the 2016-17 Warriors might be the best offensive team in the history of the NBA; it's seriously disgusting how good they are on that end of the floor, even with Klay Thompson having an utterly horrid start to the season.
I think if the Bucks can keep them under 110 points they can win this game as they have no real rim protector to stop Giannis and Jabari. Zaza is a smart defender, but with each passing year he gets slower and losing some stamina which has certainly been evident as he's been relied on to do far too much for this Warriors team regarding rim protection. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are also looking less like their standout playoff selves and much more human. The Bucks also have the Curry stopper in Dellavedova and Giannis should do a decent enough job on Durant as well. I like how the Bucks are starting lineup matches up on defense with the Warriors, especially since Jabari doesn't have to worry about Draymond Green scoring a copious amount of points since he'll be facilitating for the most part. The Warriors have started off this year quite slow in comparison to expectations, and I honestly wouldn't be too surprised if they manage to beat the Warriors yet again.