The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to go on a winning streak tonight after their exciting win over the Chicago Bulls by taking on the Milwaukee Bucks.
As difficult as that game was, tonight is likely to be even more so. Giannis Antetokounmpo is sure to be less than welcoming as the Blazers come to the Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee for a 5:00 pm PT tip-off.
The two-time MVP has the Bucks on their way to another quality playoff seed as they are currently third in the Eastern Conference. The team is only looking to climb from there.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Probable (knee)
Portland Trail Blazers
CJ McCollum – Out (foot)
Jusuf Nurkic – Out (wrist)
Zach Collins – Out (ankle)
Derrick Jones Jr – Out (foot)
One of the largest advantages the Bucks have over the Blazers is that they are nearly perfectly healthy. The only appearance on their injury report is that Giannis is probable.
This is the second game in a row that Jones Jr will miss with this foot injury. His defensive performance will surely be missed, especially against Giannis. Robert Covington and Rodney Hood will be relied upon in a big way tonight.
Matchup of the Game: Damian Lillard/Jrue Holiday
Their matchups over their career have been fairly even as both have won 12 games between the regular and postseason. The highlight (or lowlight) of this matchup came during the 2017-18 NBA playoffs.
Holiday’s Pelicans swept the Blazers right out of the playoffs. The biggest key was the defense Holiday played on Lillard. The Blazers’ star has since given a word of credit to Holiday, calling him the NBA’s best guard defender.
In that series, Lillard was held to only 18.5 points per game, while Holiday went off, scoring 41 points in the series-clinching game four.
Things have been even ever since, so tonight will give one of these talented guards the edge. Time will tell to which.
If history is any indicator, that edge likely will go to Milwaukee. The Bucks have been a tough opponent as of late for the Portland Trail Blazers. Giannis and company have imposed their will to the tune of an 8-2 record in their last 10 games played.
When you have a player like Damian Lillard, though, you can never be counted out. While he shouldn’t have to do it alone, it will be thanks to their star guard if the Blazers can pull this game out.