Bucks announce date, uniforms for “Return to the MECCA” game

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Boston Celtics in the 1974 NBA Finals. They’ll get their chance at a do-over when the two teams meet for a throwback game on Oct. 26.

The contest has been dubbed the “Return to the MECCA,” with the game being played at the UW Milwaukee Panther Arena, the original home of the Bucks franchise. Milwaukee will also wear a Nike version of the team’s original uniforms, in rotation from 1968-69 to 1971-72.

Bucks legend Jon McGlocklin announced the upcoming matchup in a press conference Tuesday morning. The Oct. 26 contest will air at 6 p.m. on TNT.

The Bucks recently released their 2017-18 season schedule, though the “Return to the MECCA” date was previously unlisted.

Breaking down the Bucks 2017-18 schedule

MILWAUKEE — The NBA released its full schedule of games Monday night, highlighted by some key dates for the Milwaukee Bucks.

While the Bucks will have fewer nationally televised games in the 2017-18 season than in past years (16, down from 20 the past two seasons), they’ll still be part of some marquee matchups. That includes games on Halloween (vs Thunder), New Year’s Day (@ Raptors), Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4 @ Nets), St. Patrick’s Day (vs Hawks), and Easter (@ Nuggets).

Milwaukee’s schedule should be a little less taxing, with 14 back-to-back games, down from 17 last season.

The full schedule can be found here.

Key Matchups
Oct. 18 @ Boston Celtics
The Bucks have opened the season at home each of the past two seasons, so it’s their turn to open on the road in 2017-18. Milwaukee went 1-2 against Boston last season, finishing the regular season with a 112-94 loss at the TD Garden.

Oct. 20 vs Cleveland Cavaliers
One of the Bucks’ top opponents comes at the start of the schedule, with LeBron James and company heading to the BMO Harris Bradley Center to hand Milwaukee another early test. It remains to be seen if Kyrie Irving will be part of that roster.

Jan. 1 @ Toronto Raptors
The Bucks will have to wait until New Year’s Day to get a measure of revenge against the team that knocked them out of the first round of last year’s playoffs. It could also help decide what direction Milwaukee heads with the All Star break slated for mid-February.

Return to The MECCA?
For months, the Bucks have been teasing a return to the UW | Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as The MECCA, where the team called home during its only championship in 1971. That year, the Bucks beat the Washington Bullets for the championship, so it’s possible the highly-anticipated return could take place on either Nov. 20 or Feb. 27 when the Washington Wizards are scheduled to visit Milwaukee.

Clutch Brogdon gives Bucks 103-100 win over Celtics

BOSTON — The Milwaukee Bucks held off a Boston Celtics rally for a 103-100 win thanks to six key points down the stretch from rookie Malcolm Brogdon.

Brogdon finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds, but none bigger than the contested shot he converted with just seconds remaining to seal the win for Milwaukee.

”Tonight the ball was in my hands at the end of the game,” Brogdon said. ”It takes a lot of character and will to win more than anything to have it in a rookie’s hands at the end of the game.”

Brogdon’s confidence is one of the reasons his play has put him in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. The 26-year-old Virginia product is averaging 10.3 points per game and shooting nearly 46 percent on the season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Khris Middleton poured in 19 points. The win keeps Milwaukee in a tie with Atlanta for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with seven games to go. The Bucks have a two-game cushion in the playoff hunt and have won five of their last six, including the last four on the road.

Milwaukee returns home for a pair of games this weekend against the Pistons and Mavericks.