Surging once again, Bucks host Nets
Right back to their winning ways after losing their 16-game winning streak this past weekend, the Milwaukee Bucks return home to welcome the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
The Bucks defeated the Orlando Magic 134-123 on the road on Tuesday night. It was Milwaukee’s 14th consecutive win over Orlando, the longest active winning streak for a team against a single opponent in the NBA.
Star Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out that contest with a non-COVID illness. He has been ruled out for Thursday’s game due to right hand soreness.
Without Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday on Tuesday, the Bucks were led by Brook Lopez. He scored 26 points and Jevon Carter and Khris Middleton each added 24. Middleton also supplied a team-high 11 assists in his first start since Dec. 15.
“Doing a little bit of everything, (he) set a good tone for us early,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Middleton. “We’re fortunate to have a guy like him. We were fortunate to have him come off the bench for a good, long stretch. … He’s going to continue it where he’s always been in our starting lineup.”
Brooklyn won its third consecutive game on Tuesday, defeating the Houston Rockets 118-96. Mikal Bridges continued to shine in his new uniform, leading the team with 30 points and five assists while Spencer Dinwiddie added 23 points and Nic Claxton had 18 to go along with 13 rebounds.
“He is the ultimate competitor. … I love that piece about him,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said of Bridges. “That ability to contribute as a teammate. He is very unselfish. He gives up his time, gives his knowledge in the locker room and during the games. So it’s really been a joy to be around him and learn him as an individual.”
Brooklyn was without Ben Simmons on Tuesday due to soreness in both his knee and back, and he will be out once again against the Bucks. For additional support in the frontcourt, the Nets signed center Nerlens Noel to a 10-day contract after he was bought out by Detroit, and he made his debut Tuesday. He played 18 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds.
Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee in points and rebounds with 31.2 and 11.9 per game, respectively. Holiday leads the way with 7.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while Lopez continues to be a force down low, averaging a team-high 2.4 blocks per game.
Bridges is leading the Nets with 26.5 points per game in the 10 games he’s played so far, while both Dinwiddie and Cameron Johnson trail behind him, averaging 17.6 and 17.2 points, respectively. Claxton leads the squad with 9.1 rebounds per game to go along with an average of 2.6 blocks.
This will be the fourth and final matchup between teams as Milwaukee looks to win the season series 3-1. The last matchup was back on Feb. 28 when the Bucks took a 118-104 win on the road.
–Field Level Media