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Portland Trail Blazers at Milwaukee Bucks Preview

The Blazers look to make a comeback in the Cream City.

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (5-10) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (10-3)

November 21, 2019 - 5:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Anfernee Simons (questionable), Hassan Whiteside (questionable), Damian Lillard (out), Zach Collins (out) Jusuf Nurkic (out)
Bucks injuries: Khris Middleton (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Brew Hoop

The Portland Trail Blazers continue their six-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks following a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans 115-104. Carmelo Anthony made his debut for the Blazers, scoring 10 points, while CJ McCollum led the team with 22 points. Hassan Whiteside notched a double-double, with 14 points to match 14 rebounds. Damian Lillard sat out the game with back spasms.

The Milwaukee Bucks take on the Blazers after a win against the Atlanta Hawks 135-127. The game against the Hawks marked the last in a three-game road swing. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points alongside 11 rebounds, while Eric Bledsoe had 28 points. Antetokounmpo, who has picked up a three-point shot, shot 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.

What to watch for

  • Damian Lillard. The team’s leader has put the team on his back time and time again this season. After missing the game against the Pelicans, it became clear how much this team needs Lillard to be whole and healthy.
  • Defense. It is apparent that the Blazers are really missing Zach Collins’ ability to protect the rim, but they are also struggling to close out on the three-point line and force misses from their opponents. They are also not defending well in the pick-and-roll. You can read more about the Blazers’ defensive troubles here. If the Blazers cannot defend or contain Giannis Antetokounmpo, then they are done for against the Bucks.
  • Drained and depleted. This is the fourth game on a six-game road trip that contained one travel back-to-back (Houston to New Orleans). The Bucks are taking on the Blazers after playing the Hawks in Atlanta the night before. What these squads can muster up in terms of energy is going to be a big X-factor in this game.

What they’re saying

JR Radcliffe at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains why the Bucks’ new City uniforms bear the “Cream City” marking:

The cream colored uniform and name on the front is a nod to Milwaukee’s nickname, referencing the brand of bricks used to build several Milwaukee-area buildings in the 19th century. The jersey is part of the NBA’s “city edition” jersey collection and joins three others in rotation this year for the Bucks: the white, green and black jerseys.

Over at Brew Hoop, Brian_Sampson digs into the Bucks’ struggles from beyond the three-point line:

Despite a 9-3 start to the season and the fourth-best effective field goal percentage according to CtG, Milwaukee has left a lot to be desired from behind the arc. Their plan to surround Antetokounmpo with shooters like Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver to take advantage of teams walling off the paint has been temporarily stalled.

The Bucks only make one-third of all their three-point attempts, good enough for 22nd in the NBA. A lot of their issues come in the very element their offense is designed to exploit; catch-and-shoots. The good news is they get more of these opportunities than any team not named the Phoenix Suns. The bad news is only six teams knock down these shots at a lower rate.

Eric Woodyard of ESPN elaborates on how Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to be the greatest player ever after seeing the retired jerseys of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen:

”I definitely want to be one of the best players to ever play, but in order for me to do that, I’ve got to be locked in every night,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN on Monday night, as he reflected on that initial trip here. “Because at the end of the day, if you don’t win, it doesn’t count. All the effort you spent, if you don’t win, it really doesn’t count.”