The Milwaukee Bucks begin their West Coast road trip tonight in Utah. Can the Bucks avoid a slow start to pick up their 22nd victory?
Entering the month of February, the Milwaukee Bucks are in trouble. After losing three straight games and eight of their last nine the team must now regain its footing on the road.
Nearing the All-Star Break and trade deadline, Coach Kidd must get his team moving forward to have a chance at making the playoffs. Even more, if the Bucks are to have a chance at being more than a one and done playoff team, they must avoid a first-round matchup with Cleveland.
Getting a win in Utah would be a great start towards building momentum. If Milwaukee can defeat the Jazz (30-19), they have a realistic chance of reeling off three straight wins.
After tonight’s game, the Bucks head to Denver (21-26) and Phoenix (15-33) before returning home next week.
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Early this week, Coach Kidd made it clear that the team can not count on the return of Khris Middleton to make the playoffs. Instead, they must focus on playing sound defense and sharing the ball.
With not having played a game since last Saturday, look to see how Milwaukee corrected their many defensive lapses. Against Boston, the Bucks were burned by backdoor cuts as players drifted out of position.
If these mistakes continue, we will get plenty of opportunities to see Thon Maker’s shot blocking ability. After not seeing the floor for much of the season, the rookie is getting his 2nd consecutive start. Against the Celtics, Maker put together an energetic sequence of dunks, blocked shots, and rebounds.
Aside from Thon Maker, another storyline is how Jabari Parker will respond from one of his most frustrating performances. Finishing with just 4 points and committing a costly turnover, it will be important for him to come out aggressive.
Prediction- Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker both score over 20 points but the Bucks still fall 110-98 in Utah.