What to Watch For: Bucks
They’re riding high off of an emotional victory over New York on Monday night, and we’ll see if the Bucks can retain their buzz against a Nuggets team that’s been blazing along on its own with a seven-game winning streak.
The Bucks’ winning effort was led by a burst of energy we’ve seen very inconsistently this year. The night, of course, belonged to Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s fantastic display of basketball, which proved to be an emotional catalyst for a Bucks win. I don’t dare use the “M” word for fear of being banned from the site by Jeremy, so let’s just say I’d like to see the Bucks carry their energy from Monday night forward and hopefully build some mo… more good feelings with another positive display of basketball.
In particular, the team will look to continue their scorching 3-point shooting (11-18, 61%). Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight both shot better than 50% from distance against the Knicks, and the Bucks will need those two to continue their hot shooting if they want to keep up with Denver’s up-tempo attack.
What to Watch For: Nuggets
The Nuggets seem to be the kind of team Larry Drew wanted the Bucks to be at the beginning of the season. They’ve carried over former coach George Karl’s full-speed, blitzing offensive style in their first year under Brian Shaw and rank among the league’s top 5 in pace.
They’re also an interesting specimen because for several years (since Carmelo Anthony forced his way out of Colorado to New York), they’ve evolved into a rare team that consistently succeeds without a superstar player. Even now, having lost Andre Iguodala to free agency and making no moves of consequence in the summer of 2013, they’ve managed to remain at .500 in the brutal Western Conference and within a stone’s throw of the playoffs.
The Bucks’ challenge will be to either match or disrupt Denver’s hyperspeed offense while containing their main offensive threat, point guard Ty Lawson, and the rest of the team’s balanced scoring attack. The Nuggets feature six players who average more than 10 points per game in an offense orchestrated by Lawson, who averages 18 points and almost 9 assists.
Time – 8:00 p.m. CST
TV – FS Wisconsin
Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: John Henson (wrist; questionable), O.J. Mayo (illness; out), Ekpe Udoh (ankle; out), Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out), Nate Wolters (illness; questionable)
Knicks: Ty Lawson (Shoulder; probable), Nate Robinson (ACL surgery; out), JaVale McGee (tibia fracture; out)
PG Nate Wolters (?)
SG Brandon Knight
SF Khris Middleton
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Larry Sanders
Raymond Felton Skinny, Quick Raymond Felton (Ty Lawson)
SG Randy Foye
SF Wilson Chandler
PF Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
Choose the Form of the Destructor: Kenneth Faried
Faried is the kind of player that it seems every team wants – a hard-working, smart player who contributes efficiently. He takes over 80% of his shots at or near the rim and while he’s not the most efficient post player ever seen, he has emerged as a strong rebounder and tough competitor in his third NBA season. While he’s a bit small for a power forward, measuring only 6’8″ and 230 pounds, the Manimal makes up for his physical disadvantage by tirelessly crashing the glass and hustling and providing all those other intangibles that coaches rave about.
He’s also coming off one of the best games of his young career, having produced 28 points and 11 rebounds against the Clippers. While he’s not a night-in and night-out offensive threat, the Bucks will have to work hard to out-hustle him and keep him away from rebounds that will give the Nuggets additional scoring opportunities. Because they’re going to get a lot of scoring opportunities either way. Any way you can give them less chances to score… it’s a good thing. Trust me. The Bucks will need it.