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.

Second half woes plague Bucks in loss to Wizards

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo was out of the lineup for the Milwaukee Bucks due to illness, and the Washington Wizards took advantage of his absence, coming back from a 12-point deficit to get a 107-101 win Sunday afternoon.

As has often been the case this year, Milwaukee started hot, holding a 31-24 lead after the first quarter. They built that up to a 12-point lead early in the second, leading 57-49 at halftime. But the final two quarters saw Milwaukee’s offense sputter, putting up 21 and 23 points, respectively.

Mirza Teletovic took Antetokounmpo’s place in the lineup, providing just five points of offense on 2-of-8 shooting. Jabari Parker and Malcolm Brogdon tried to pick up the slack, adding a combined 50 points on 18-of-36 shooting (50 percent).

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 26 points on 52.6 percent shooting. As a team, Washington struggled from the three-point line, converting on just 31.2 percent of their attempts (10-of-32).