Mavericks (6-4) at Milwaukee Bucks (8-4)
Time: 6:30 p.m., Friday
Place: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
TV: FSSW, ESPN
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: This is the finale of a short two-game road trip for the Mavs, who opened the trip with Wednesday’s 104-93 victory at the Charlotte Hornets. . .The Mavs have a home game on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls before they pack their bags to start a three-game road trip on Monday against the Toronto Raptors, who are playing their home games in Tampa, Fla., because the Canadian government denied an exemption for NBA teams to travel north of the border without a 14-day quarantine. . .Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell are all sidelined for the second game due to health and safety protocols. . .Kristaps Porzingis played his first game of the season on Wednesday when he collected 16 points, four rebounds and two blocks against the Hornets. . .The Mavs are on a four-game winning streak and are trying to emerge victorious for five games in a row for the first time since Nov. 29-Dec. 7, 2019 when they won at Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans, and at home against Minnesota and New Orleans. . .That attention to detail mantra on the defensive end of the floor is working very well for the Mavs, who rank first in the league in fewest made field goals allowed per game at 37.5. The Mavs are also second in the NBA in fewest points allowed (104.4 ppg), lowest field goal percentage allowed (43.8 percent) and lowest 3-point field goal percentage allowed (30.9 percent).
About the Bucks: Last season turned out to be one of those good news, bad news seasons for the Bucks. For starters, Milwaukee compiled the NBA’s best record last season with a very impressive 56-17 record. However, the Bucks were unceremoniously eliminated by the Miami Heat in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. . .Currently, the Bucks lead the Central Division – again — and own the third-best overall record out East. . .Milwaukee has posted a 5-1 record at home. The only team with more home wins than the Bucks this season are the Philadelphia 76ers, who are 7-1 at home. . .The Bucks are centered around four-time All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award the past two seasons and is a handful to try and contain. Antetokounmpo is averaging 26.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg and 5.5 apg, and gets plenty of help from small forward Khris Middleton, who averages 21.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg and a team high 5.7 apg. . .Also for the Bucks, point guard Jrue Holiday (15.2 ppg, 5.0 apg, 2.17 spg), center Bobby Portis (11.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (10.7 ppg, 44.1 percent from 3-point range). have made some major contributions this season. . .The Bucks dropped two preseason games at home to the Mavs this season. The Mavs beat the Bucks, 112-102, on Dec. 12, and then beat them again, 128-112, on Dec. 14.