Safe to say this week was a little better for the Bucks.
After a Halloween week that saw Milwaukee limp through an 0-3 record to fall to 4-5, the Bucks did lose a hard-fought 124-119 game to Cleveland to see them dip two games below .500. However, on the day of that game, the Bucks got some significant help, as Eric Bledsoe made his way to the Cream City from Phoenix in exchange for Greg Monroe and protected future first and second-round picks. While he did not make his official Bucks debut until Friday against San Antonio, he helped lead a seemingly rejuvenated Milwaukee team to two big victories on back-to-back nights, first in San Antonio and then at home against the Lakers Saturday. With three games on the docket this week, what do the new-look Bucks have up their sleeve? We’ll just have to wait and see.
For now, though, let’s take a look at what’s to come.
This Week (* signifies record as of writing)
11/13: vs. Memphis Grizzlies (7-5)*
Coming into the season, the Memphis Grizzlies were one of the more interesting teams in what is a loaded Western Conference picture. Sure, they have solid and established vets like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, but how would they deal with the loss of Zach Randolph to Sacramento? They also have a promising rookie in Dillon Brooks out of Oregon, but what role would he fit in on his new team in his first year? The answer to that is, they’re still the Grizzlies, a team that has scratched and clawed their way to a respectable 7-5 start on the backs of players such as Brooks (8.5 PPG, 1.2 SPG) and Tyreke Evans (20+ points in last 5 games off the bench) pulling their share of the weight on top of Gasol and Conley.
Matchup to Watch: Point Guard matchup vs. Mike Conley (just prior to publishing, Eric Bledsoe was announced as a game-time decision)
11/15: vs. Detroit Pistons (10-3)*
So, raise your hand if you expected this from Detroit 13 games into the season. Now, put your other hand up if you expected Andre Drummond to be shooting 62.5 percent from the charity stripe at this point in the season.
Stan Van Gundy, put your hands down, I don’t like liars.
Anyway, the Pistons have been the genuine surprise of the season’s first few weeks, with the aforementioned Drummond seemingly putting all the pieces together and putting together a monster start to 2017 of 13.7 points and 15.6 rebounds a night to go along with his anomaly of a free-throw percentage. On top of this, three of Detroit’s other starters are averaging over 15 points a game: Reggie Jackson (16.3), offseason pickup Avery Bradley (17.0) and former Buck Tobias Harris (20.1). So, Milwaukee, get ready for the 2nd best team in the East on Wednesday night, and for once we’re not talking about Cleveland or Boston.
Matchup to Watch: Milwaukee big men vs. Andre Drummond
11/18: at Dallas Mavericks (2-12)*
Simply put, 2017 has not started exactly the way that Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks would have wanted.
In a year that could very well be the last for Dallas and NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks have (somewhat) embraced the proverbial tank, limping out of the gate to a league-worst 2-12 record, including 2-8 in their last 10 as of November 13th.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some bright spots on their roster, especially in their guard play. Longtime Maverick J.J. Barea, Indiana alum Yogi Ferrell and standout rookie Dennis Smith Jr. are creating an interesting backcourt scene in Dallas, as Rick Carlisle has begun to start both Ferrell and Smith Jr. in recent times, with Barea providing valuable all-around play off the bench. In the frontcourt, Harrison Barnes has slowly but surely begun becoming what the Mavericks hoped he would be when they signed him to a max 4 year/$94 million contract prior to last season, putting up 19.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Matchup to Watch: Bledsoe/Brogdon vs. Dennis Smith Jr.
- Xavier Munford continues to shine for the now 3-1 Wisconsin Herd (as of November 13th) who defeated the Sacramento-affiliated Reno Bighorns 106-102 on Saturday. Munford dropped 31 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists on 4/5 shooting from behind the arc. In addition, Gary Payton II debuted with the team Friday night, scoring 29 points with 8 rebounds on 11/26 shooting in a 111-82 loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors
- The Herd will play their first home game of the season this Friday, November 17th at the BMO Harris Bradley Center against the Windy City Bulls followed by a Saturday home game against the Maine Red Claws. The team is expected to only play their first two or three home games in Milwaukee while awaiting the completion of construction on the Oshkosh arena.
The Bucks continue their winning ways, as they take down Memphis, avenge their loss to Detroit from two weeks ago in a hard-fought game Wednesday and dispatching of Dallas to end the week at 9-6.