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Milwaukee Bucks

Tuesday Game Previews: Nets host league-leading Bucks; Spurs begin road trip in Sacramento

DeMarre Carroll and Giannis Antetokounmpo
(Getty Images)

Milwaukee Bucks (38-13) vs Brooklyn Nets (28-26)

Where to Watch

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 5

Time: 6:00 AM IST

TV: Sony ESPN

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

Game Preview

Under their first season under coach Mike Budenholzer, the Milwaukee Bucks have completely transformed themselves from last year.

Their best player Giannis Antetokounmpo is among the league-leading MVP candidates with averages of 26.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists on 57.1% shooting (career-highs). He leads the league in NBA's Player Impact Estimate stat (20.9) and ranks third in ESPN's PER (29.41).

He will also captain Team Giannis in the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte in a couple of weeks.

As a team, Budenholzer has made a huge impact on the Bucks. Have a look at the improvements in these key stats:

Last Season 2018-19 (through 51 games)
Off. rating 108.8 (10th) 113.3 (4th)
Def. rating 109.1 (18th) 103.7 (1st)
3 PM/G 8.8 (27th) 13.3 (2nd)
Rebounds 39.8 (30th) 48.8 (1st)
Assists 23.2 (14th) 26.3 (5th)

Through 51 games, the Bucks either have a winning record or have split the season series with each of the other teams in the top 5 - vs. Toronto Raptors (3-1), vs. Golden State Warriors (1-1), vs. Denver Nuggets (2-0), and vs. Boston Celtics (1-1).

Coming to the Nets, they might have lost three of their last four games and still, the Brooklyn franchise is tied for the fourth-best winning percentage (71.4%) in the league since Dec. 8 and they did all of this without one of their best players in Caris LeVert.

A huge reason for their revival has been D-Angelo Russell, the most recent All-Star reserve. Since Dec. 8, the Nets have won 20 of their 28 games and through that span, Russell is averaging 21.3 points and 7.1 assists on 46.6% shooting from the field.

The Nets are the only team outside the top five teams in the Eastern Conference to have a record better than .500 and with 28 games to go, Brooklyn has a 2.5 game lead over the eighth-seeded Miami Heat. They are currently tied 1-1 with the Heat in their season series with a couple of games to go.

Game Notes

  • The Milwaukee Bucks have a league-best road record of 16-9.
  • Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have a home record of 16-11.
  • The Bucks have reportedly three players who will be game-time decisions - Donte DiVincenzo (Heel), Jason Smith (Knee), and Eric Bledsoe (Achilles).
  • On the other hand, the Nets would definitely be without Caris LeVert (Foot) and Spencer Dinwiddie (Thumb). The trio of Allen Crabbe (Knee), Joe Harris (Hip), and Jared Dudley (Hamstring).

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 30, 2018

Score: Nets 115-129 Bucks

Nets: Shabazz Napier - 32 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds on 9-of-15 shooting.

Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo - 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals on 13-of-17 shooting.

Box Score


San Antonio Spurs (32-22) vs Sacramento Kings (27-25)

Where to Watch

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 5

Time: 8:30 AM IST

TV: Sony ESPN

Location: Golden1 Center, Sacramento, CA

Game Preview

The Sacramento Kings didn't hire any new coach this past offseason but their improvement this year can't be understated either.

De'Aaron Fox, playing like the league's best sophomore, combined with the improved play of Buddy Hield, has spurred the franchise along to its best start in over a decade.

Going by the numbers, Sacramento is easily the most improved team this season. Just have a look:

Last season 2018-19 season
Points per game 98.8 (30th) 113.4 (8th)
Fast break points 10.4 (20th) 21.2 (1st)
Points in the paint 43.5 (22nd) 51.2 (7th)
Points off turnovers 15.2 (24th) 20.6 (tied 1st)
Field Goal % 45.0% (22nd) 46.6 (11th)
Pace 95.59 (30th) 104.15 (2nd)

They went 2-4 on a recent six-game long road trip and are currently in the midst of a six-game-long homestand. Their win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday helped them jump the Los Angeles Lakers into the 9th spot in the Western Conference standings.

On the other hand, Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs have put together yet another spectacular season under trying circumstances. The Spurs are without Manu Ginobili (retirement) and Tony Parker (Charlotte Hornets) and then to make matters worse, their starting point guard in Dejounte Murray was ruled out for the season even before their campaign tipped-off.

After a slow start in their first 25 games (11-14), the Spurs have bounced back to a strong fifth seed in the West.

Since Dec. 8, the Spurs won 21 of their 29 games for a third-best winning percentage over this time span with an offensive rating ranked 4th (115.8) and a defensive rating ranked 6th (107.5) in the league.

Quite often in the NBA, momentum is key, and the Spurs are riding a 5-game win streak as they are set to tip-off their season's longest road-trip of eight games in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Game Notes

  • The Kings have a home record of 16-10 and this is the third contest of their current six-game homestand.
  • The Spurs have a road record of 10-15 and this is the first game of a monster eight-game road trip [All-Star break in between].
  • Sacramento reportedly has no players on the injury list for this game.
  • Meanwhile, San Antonio will certainly miss Derrick White and Dejounte Murray. Dante Cunningham is said to be a game-time decision.

Last Time They Played

Date: Nov. 13, 2018

Score: Spurs 99-104 Kings

Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge - 14 points, 18 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Kings: De'Aaron Fox - 19 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 7-of-9 shooting.

Box Score

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