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Preview and Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks vs Memphis Grizzlies

The Milwaukee Bucks return home following their 2-2 West Coast Trip.  The Bucks (10-3) are set to face the Memphis Grizzlies (7-5) on Wednesday night, November 14, 2018, at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (FSWI, 7 PM CST).

Milwaukee is coming off of a weird road trip where they lost the opener to Portland by double digits, then rebounded to defeat the Golden State Warriors by 23 points. The Bucks then lost an overtime game in Los Angeles against the Clippers, only to turn around and beat the current 3 seed in the Western Conference, Denver Nuggets, the following night.  The Bucks came back with a 2-1 record against the top three teams in the Western Conference, along with an overtime loss to the seven seed Clippers.  It was a successful road trip for the Bucks, who now look ahead to 6 consecutive games in front of their home crowd.

The Memphis Grizzlies head to Milwaukee after securing a 2-1 record on their short homestand against the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Utah Jazz, respectively.  Memphis held on against Denver to win by 2, following an overtime win against the 76ers, where Garrett Temple hit a 3 with 39 seconds left to force the overtime.  The Grizzlies went on to win by 6 points in overtime.  Memphis finished their three game homestand with a 96-88 loss to Utah. The Grizzlies are led by Guard Mike Conley who is averaging 18.6 points per game along with 5.8 assists per game.

To most, a Milwaukee-Memphis match-up on a Wednesday night might not be intriguing, but it is.  Milwaukee has the highest scoring offense in the NBA when playing at home, while Memphis gives up the least amount of points per game in the league. With the majority of NBA teams, including Milwaukee, leaning towards a higher quantity of three-point attempts per game, and leaning away from the lock down defense like Memphis often plays with, this game could show a glimpse into if the NBA fully adapts to the fast paced, Golden State Warriors-esque offense.  If Memphis can control the pace of the game and make it difficult for the Bucks to shoot open three pointers, the NBA could see lock down defense as a way to beat the highly efficient offensive teams such as Milwaukee.  If Milwaukee blows out Memphis, the leagues best defense, then maybe teams would be inclined to commit a little bit more towards the high output of three-point shots during games.  Probably a stretch, but just a thought to consider.

The question remains the same for every team that plays the Milwaukee Bucks: “How are we going to stop Giannis?”.  The Grizzlies need to forget about Giannis and focus on stopping Bledsoe, Brogdon, Middleton, and Lopez from having significant games alongside Giannis.  Giannis is going to get his points every night no matter who is guarding him. If the Grizzlies can limit a 25+ scoring night from one of those aforementioned players not named Giannis, expect Memphis to be in this game at the end.  Now, that being said, Jaren Jackson Jr. could give an interesting match-up on Giannis that could prevent the Greek Freak from dropping 35+ points on the Grizzlies.

Prediction:

Milwaukee Bucks 113 – Memphis Grizzlies 105

Although I believe this game will be close, the Bucks should still get the job done at home to keep their undefeated start at home going.  The Grizzlies are tricky, and if they can control the pace of the game throughout most of the game, it could be a grind out game for the Bucks.  Grind out games are what Memphis thrives on, which would make this game more of a toss-up.  Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer will have to instill a fast-paced game plan in his players if the Bucks want to stay undefeated at the Fiserv Forum this year.

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