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Preview: Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks

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The Nuggets will try once again to end their losing streak tonight, this time against the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets are playing the second game of a five-game road trip tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks and will try to notch a win after losing six in a row. The Bucks are on a three-game losing streak, having lost to the Charlotte Hornets 82-87 yesterday in a game in which they shot poorly. They shot 40.2% from the field, 28.6% from the three-point line and 57.1% from the free-throw line. As Nuggets fans would remember, however, it was a different story in Denver’s first contest with Milwaukee on November 11. The Bucks shot 70% in the first half and led by 11 going into halftime, but the Nuggets cut into the deficit in the third and fourth quarter to allow themselves a final opportunity to win the game with 17.5 seconds left. After Danilo Gallinari airballed a shot to try to win the game, Kenneth Faried caught the ball and threw up the game-winning basket, and the Nuggets won 103-102.

Tonight, the Nuggets should look to take advantage of the fact that the Bucks will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back and could potentially be dealing with confidence issues after a bad shooting performance. They are also struggling defensively, giving up 105 points a game, which even caused Jason Kidd to adjust the starting lineup against the Hornets. If the Nuggets can get into somewhat of an offensive rhythm while at the same time limiting the Bucks’ production in the paint and preventing another onslaught of threes, they stand a chance to win this game.

The Basics:

Who: Denver Nuggets (6-11) at Milwaukee Bucks (6-11)
When:
6:00 PM MST
Where:
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Where to Watch:
Altitude TV
Rival Blog:
Brew Hoop


Milwaukee Bucks
Denver Nuggets Advantage
PG Michael Carter-Williams Emmanuel Mudiay Even
SG Khris Middleton Randy Foye Bucks
SF Giannis Antetokounmpo Danilo Gallinari Even
PF Jabari Parker Kenneth Faried Nuggets
C Greg Monroe Nikola Jokic Bucks
Bench John Henson, Chris Copeland, Jerryd Bayless, O.J. Mayo, Miles Plumlee, Greivis Vasquez, Tyler Ennis, Rashad Vaughn, Johnny O'Bryant III Darrell Arthur, Will BartonJ.J. HicksonMike MillerKostas Papanikolaou, Joffrey Lauvergne, Jameer Nelson

Even

Injured players: Wilson Chandler, hip (out), Jusuf Nurkic, knee (out), Gary Harris, concussion (doubtful)

Key Matchup: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Danilo Gallinari

Both the Bucks’ and the Nuggets’ leading scorer is their starting small forward, so this is the matchup to watch tonight. Antetokounmpo is averaging 17.1 points a game, while Gallinari has an average of 17.7 a game. Despite the fact that Antetokounmpo uses his length to make it tough on his opponents, Gallinari still managed to find a way to score 25 points against him on November 11. However, Gallo’s still trying to find his way out of a shooting slump currently, and while he's been doing other things such as rebounding to kind of, sort of make up for it, Antetokounmpo’s length may make it tough on him to even do this. Overall, these two are pretty evenly matched, which should make this game a fun one.

Thing to Watch: Points in the paint

The one area that could be interesting to watch tonight is points in the paint. The Bucks are third in the league in this category at 45.6 a game, and they outscored the Hornets in this area 44-18 on Sunday. However, the Nuggets are not far behind at 42.9 a game, and having Lauvergne back should help them defensively down low. The last time these two teams played one another, the Bucks had a whopping 52 points in the paint to the Nuggets’ 46. Monroe has been doing damage inside, and it will be a focus for Denver’s frontcourt to try to limit his production or at the very least match it on the other end.

Key Question: Can the Nuggets finally play close to 48 minutes of good basketball?