Bucks 2019-20 schedule released

The start of the 2019-20 NBA season is getting closer and closer. The Milwaukee Bucks have high expectations after coming two wins short of an NBA Finals appearance last season.

On Monday afternoon, Milwaukee announced their schedule for the 2019-20 campaign. The Bucks will begin their season on the road against James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets on Oct. 24.

Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat will come to town on Oct. 26 for the Bucks home opener.

The Bucks’ longest road trip of the season is a pair of four-game sets. Their longest homestand is also two different four-game sets.

Milwaukee is also getting a ton of national respect, as they should. Also, their Christmas Day game against the Philadelphia 76ers will tip off at 1:30pm on ABC.

You can see the full schedule on the Bucks website here.

Bucks to play 76ers in Philadelphia on Christmas Day

For the sixth time in franchise history and second straight year, the Milwaukee Bucks will be featured on Christmas Day.

Last December, the Bucks played their first Christmas Day game since 1977 in New York against the Knicks. They’ll travel out east again next season to take on the 76ers in Philadelphia. It’s great the Bucks are back playing on X-mas, but it would’ve been nice to see them host.

The matchup features two of the best players in the NBA. The reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo and center Joel Embiid are set up to have a classic battle. As for the two teams, the Bucks and 76ers are expected to be the top two competing for a trip to the NBA Finals.

There are five total games being played on the Christmas Day slate. In addition to the Bucks playing the 76ers, the day will feature four other marquee games | The Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers, the New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets, the Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets at the Golden State Warriors.

The Bucks are 3-2 all-time on December 25th. The defeated the Knicks 109-95 on Christmas last season. The full NBA schedule is expected to be released in a few weeks.

Bucks top regular season win totals at Ceasars Sportsbook

Thanks to an NBA offseason full of player movement, the NBA is left without a clear-cut title favorite for the first time in a long time. There seems to be no more “super team” like the Golden State Warriors over the last several seasons | Or, the LeBron James led Miami Heat. Multiple teams have a chance to compete for a title.

Caesars Sportsbook did their best to predict how the regular season will play out by posting their win totals for each team. The Milwaukee Bucks are at the top of the list with 57.

The Bucks are coming off an NBA best 60-win season and are the favorites in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2019-20 season. The Philadelphia 76ers are second in the east at 54.5.

The Los Angeles Clippers lead the Western Conference at 55.5. The Utah Jazz have the second highest win total out West with 52.5. The Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets are each at 52. Also, the Los Angeles Lakers opened at 51.5.

Check out each team’s win total below:

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook

Atlanta Hawks 36
Boston Celtics 49½
Brooklyn Nets 47
Charlotte Hornets 24
Chicago Bulls 30½
Cleveland Cavaliers 24
Dallas Mavericks 41
Denver Nuggets 52
Detroit Pistons 37½
Golden State Warriors 47
Houston Rockets 52
Indiana Pacers 48½
LA Clippers 55½
LA Lakers 51½
Memphis Grizzlies 25½
Miami Heat 43½
Milwaukee Bucks 57
Minnesota Timberwolves 35
New Orleans Pelicans 39
New York Knicks 27
Oklahoma City Thunder 28
Orlando Magic 40½
Philadelphia 76ers 54½
Phoenix Suns 27
Portland Trail Blazers 47½
Sacramento Kings 37
San Antonio Spurs 43½
Toronto Raptors 45
Utah Jazz 52½
Washington Wizards 28½

Bucks announce their preseason schedule

The return of Milwaukee Bucks basketball isn’t that far away. Coming off a 60-win season which included a trip to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks will open the preseason of their 2019-20 campaign against the division rival Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Oct. 7.

The Bucks will play a total of five preseason games, including two at Fiserv Forum.

Check out the full schedule below. The regular season schedule will be announced later.

Oct. 7 at Chicago Bulls, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 vs. Utah Jazz, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Dallas Mavericks, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 13 at Washington Wizards, 6 p.m.

Oct. 17 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 7 p.m.

Khris Middleton re-signs with Bucks for five-year, $178 million deal

The Milwaukee Bucks and Khris Middleton agree to terms on a new contract for five years at $178 million. It was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Middleton previously declined his $13 million player option.

A second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Middleton has spent the last six seasons in Milwaukee after one season with the Detroit Pistons. This is the richest contract ever signed by a second-round pick.

The 27-year old is coming off his first All-Star season. He averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists while helping the Bucks to a 60-win season and Eastern Conference Finals berth.

The deal isn’t quite a max contract but is close to it. The Bucks could’ve offered Middleton $190 million over the next five years.

Many people will look at this deal as a bit of an overpay for a player like Middleton. He’s a good basketball player, for sure, but is he worth close to the max?

The answer may not even matter in this situation. Given the Bucks cap situation, they couldn’t sign anyone near the level of Middleton. He’s a long, versatile forward who can shoot the three-ball and takes the challenge of defending the opposition’s best wing. This was a no-brainer for Milwaukee.

The Bucks came two wins away from reaching their first NBA Finals since 1974. Letting their second best player walk for nothing would be far worse than overpaying for him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was this year’s MVP and is without a doubt the most important player on the team. But, there’s also no doubt this team would be worse off next season without Middleton. If they want to remain contenders over the next several seasons, they’ll have to open up their checkbooks and pay their role players.

“Giannis and I want to win a championship together some day,” Middleton said. “We’ve both already gotten back in the gym this summer and are determined to make next season special. This team is on a mission to win it all for our city.”

Grizzlies hiring Bucks assistant Taylor Jenkins as their next head coach

The Memphis Grizzles have a new head coach and he’s from Mike Budenholzer’s staff. The report came from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Tuesday morning. Jenkins will be replacing J.B. Bickerstaff, who was relieved of his duties in April.

Jenkins has been an assistant under Budenholzer since 2013. He spent 2013-2018 with Budenholzer as part of the Atlanta Hawks staff. Then, last season with the Bucks. This will be Jenkins first time as a head coach in the NBA. He is a former G League head coach of the Austin Spurs.

Budenholzer’s coaching tree continues to grow. Jenkins is now the third NBA coach to come directly off his staff. He joins Utah’s Quin Snyder and Brooklyn’s Kenny Atkinson as former assistant coaches of Budenholzer.

Raptors 100, Bucks 94: Last word

TORONTO | The Milwaukee Bucks had their season put to an end falling in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Toronto Raptors 100-94.

Player of the game: Kawhi Leonard

Leonard was the best player on the floor in the Eastern Conference Finals. He performed at the highest level. The Claw went for a game-high 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out seven dimes. He also spent most of the game defending Giannis Antetokounmpo holding him to 21 points (7-18 FG).

The Raptors’ superstar continues to prove that he is still one of the best two-way players in the league today. He has put up incredible numbers throughout the entire postseason and should continue his historic play in the NBA Finals.

Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri praised Leonard after the win saying, “He’s the best player in the league.”

Leonard responded, “I don’t really judge my game like that. I’m more of a team aspect, see what my team is doing. I just want to win. I don’t care about being the best player. I want to be the best team. I’ve always said that. Just before the season when we made the trade, Masai felt that way about me. He told me how he felt and why he made the trade. It’s turning out well now. We’re in the Finals, and we’re not done yet.”

Play of the game: Leonard dunks on Giannis

This play put a stamp on the game and the series.

The good: The start

It was another promising start for the Bucks as they jumped out to a 13-point first quarter lead. They looked fresh and hungry knocking down shots and playing excellent defense. This wasn’t the first time this series they got out to an early lead but just like in past games, they couldn’t hold it.

The not so good: The finish

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong for the Bucks over the final 14 minutes of the game. The Raptors finished the third quarter on a 10-0 run. They continued the run into the fourth going on a 26-3 run.

“Obviously we were playing real well in the first half,” Giannis said. We know Toronto is a great team and they’re going to make runs. But the team just tried to stay focused and tried to move the ball, trust one another and execute. We knew that they were going to make a run. But obviously we weren’t able to rebound the ball and get out in transition and get the easy points. That’s why we lost the lead.”

Toronto outscored Milwaukee 29-18 in the final frame.

The Bucks tried to battle all the way to the end, but they just didn’t have enough. Offensive rebounds hurt their chances down the stretch. Also, a questionable decision with under 30 seconds left and Raptors ball, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer elected not to foul. The possession ended in a missed shot by Pascal Siakam, but the rebound went back to the home team. That would pretty much wrap it up.

Stat of the game: 4th straight loss

I know this is an end result and not necessarily a stat, but it needs to be stated. This season, Milwaukee never lost more than two games in a row up until this point. After taking a 2-0 series lead over the Raptors, the Bucks lost four straight games. That may be the most shocking thing to happen.

Bucks’ fans, including this one, thought they had the series in the bag. We all were already planning our trip to California for the Finals. Toronto had other plans and put a sour taste in the mouth of every Milwaukee fan.

What they said:

Budenholzer on the loss and the season…

I’d just like to start by congratulating Nick Nurse and his staff and the Toronto Raptors and all their players, their organization. Congratulations to them. They did a heck of a job.

It’s hard to put into words how you feel when a season like this ends. I’ll save most of it for the team, but I’ll say I couldn’t be more proud of the way our guys compete, the way they play every night, the way they conduct themselves. This hurts, but what they did in this playoffs, tonight against a really good Toronto Raptor team, and to get to the Conference Finals, the regular season, special season for us. And we feel like we’re just getting started. This is the beginning of our journey. And again, I couldn’t be more proud of our team.

I would like to thank Jon Horst and the front office and the job that they did in this setting, in this environment, the roster and everything they did to put together a team that could compete at this level. I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful and appreciative of what Jon Horst, the front office does, what the ownership does. So I just wanted to say that here in this setting.

Khris Middleton on the steps that this team made this season…

Yeah, I think we had a great year, 60 wins, one of the best teams in NBA history. Got past the first round, which we struggled with for a long time. Just fell short of our goals. We were right there. I think all in all it was a great season, but we still fell short.

Giannis on what he ended up taking from this series…

Man, obviously when you’re up 2-0, that doesn’t mean nothing. You’ve got to learn how to come out and close out games, especially after Game 3. We’ve got to get better as a team, and we’ve got to get better individually. I think it’s just the start of a long journey. We’re going to get better. We’re going to come back next year and believe in who we are, believe in what we’ve built this year, and hopefully we can be in the same situation and be the ones moving forward.

What’s next?

The 2018-19 season is officially over for the Bucks. They will now look ahead to next season and try to build on the success they had this year.

Raptors 105, Bucks 99: Last word

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks fell at home in Game 5 to the Toronto Raptors 105-99.

Player of the game: Kawhi Leonard

Leonard played a game-high 40 minutes, scored a game-high 35 points, dished out nine assists and grabbed seven rebounds. He absolutely took over in the fourth dropping 15 points (4-9 FG, 2-3 3PT).

He scored or assisted on 62 points which is the most in any game of his career. But his impact defensively may have been even bigger. He was the primary defender on Giannis for most of the night holding him to 24 points (9-18 FG).

“I know coaches are like this a little bit, but I | as impressive as his offense is, and it’s impressive | I get more impressed when he’s down there guarding and making plays and blocking shots and flying in for rebounds,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “And my favorite thing is when he just decides once or twice a game to just go take it from somebody and go the other way, those are huge momentum plays, and that’s impressive to me.”


Play of the game: Malcolm Brogdon turns it over

There are so many plays you could look at that tilted the game, but this was really the last shot for the Bucks to stay in the game. With 26 seconds left and Milwaukee down by three, Brogdon had the ball knocked away from him by Pascal Siakam’s knee which bounced off Brogdon and out of bounds.

The good: The start

Milwaukee got off to a promising start finishing the first quarter with a 32-22 lead. Their defense was switching which frustrated the Raptors forcing them into bad shots. Toronto shot just 35% (7-20). Also, Leonard picked up his second foul with just over four minutes left in the quarter.

It seemed like everything was going right for the Bucks and they were back to playing their style of basketball. Fiserv Forum was loud and cheering their team on as they believed the Bucks were on the verge of riding their home court to a Game 5 win.

Bledsoe had his best quarter of the series scoring nine points (3-4 FG) as he found his jumper knocking down two mid-rangers and one three-pointer. Brogdon looked like he bounced back from a poor Game 4 dropping eight points (3-5 FG) in the first quarter.

The not so good: Nikola Mirotic

Brogdon got the start in favor of Mirotic and performed well. He finished with 18 points (8-17 FG, 2-6 3PT) and 11 rebounds. However, Mirotic, off the bench was less than impressive. His shooting struggles continued. In nine minutes of play, Mirotic failed to hit a shot on his four attempts and three shots from deep finishing with zero points.

“We’ll evaluate everything and see how Niko fits,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He gives us great spacing, great shooting. If he can help us off the bench, then obviously we’ll use him, and he can be very helpful to us.”

The weird: Bakhtiari, Rodgers, Yelich and beer

It was probably the highlight of the night.

Stat of the game: 21 points for Fred VanVleet

VanVleet was a Bucks killer Thursday night pouring in 21 points off the bench He knocked down seven of his nine attempts from beyond the arc. The role players have been huge in this series and have been the difference in each game. VanVleet had the highest plus-minus (28) of the game in his 37 minutes of play.

“Way to play,” Kyle Lowry said about VanVleet after the game. “It’s one thing where people talk a lot and they say this or that, but to come out with a performance like that on the road, it shows the mental toughness. It shows just how much of a professional he is. It was an unbelievable performance by him, and he made some big shots for us. You know, he did his job tonight.”

What they said:

Budenholzer on the loss…

You know, we’ve been a resilient group all year. We just need to think about going and winning one game, go to Toronto and get that. Tonight a little bit of a strange box score, obviously, VanVleet from the three-point line and them in general from the three-point line was a huge impact on the game. They got to the free throw line more than us and just we couldn’t get | we needed a couple rebounds there down the stretch that I think when we look at the film we’ll feel like if we could have gotten a few more defensive rebounds from the five, four, three-minute mark on, maybe the end result would have been different. But you know, we’ll get ready. We’ll get prepared, go to Toronto.

Nurse on winning for the third time in a row…

Listen, this is a great team we’re playing. They are really good and deep and athletic and long and all kinds of stuff. This was a super hard win tonight, super hard. And we have to play with a tremendous amount of effort. Again, I think our keys are this: We’ve got to play good offense, not turn it over and score the basketball, because if you don’t, they’re getting what they want, which is downhill basketball in a hurry.

In case you missed it:

*Brogdon recorded his first career playoff double-double as he hauled in a playoff-career-high 11 rebounds and scored 18 points. This is his third game with 15+ points this postseason and fifth scoring in double figures.

*Giannis led the Bucks with 24 points and nine rebounds, marking his 12th 20+ point game of the postseason.

*Khris Middleton hauled in 10 boards and dished out 10 assists, tallying his fourth career playoff double-double and third of this year’s playoffs.

*Bledsoe finished the night with 20 points for his third game of the postseason scoring 20+ points and fourth 20+ point game of his playoff career.

*Leonard led the Raptors with a game-high 35 points while also dishing out a playoff-career-high nine assists. This is his 11th game of this postseason with 30+ points.

*VanVleet scored a playoff-career-high 21 points.

*Siakam tallied his fifth double-double of this postseason, scoring 14 points with a game-high 13 rebounds.

*The Raptors also had Kyle Lowry (17) score in double figures.

What’s next?

The Bucks (2-3) will travel back to Toronto for Game 5 to play the Raptors (3-2) in a must-win situation on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.