MILWAUKEE BUCKS (32-18) AT MAVERICKS (28-22)
Time: 8 p.m.
Place: American Airlines Center, Dallas
TV: Bally Sports Southwest
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: In what was considered a trap game, the Mavs went to Houston on Wednesday and suffered a surprisingly 102-93 loss to the lowly Rockets. That came one game after the Mavs beat up the team with the best record in the entire NBA – the Utah Jazz – on Monday, 111-103. Now, the Mavs will battle a Milwaukee team that has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Anybody can play a bad game, right?,” guard Luka Doncic said after the loss to Houston. “So we played a horrible game as a team. We just got to flush it out and continue to play.”. . .The Mavs are 19-0 when leading after the first quarter this season, but trailed the Rockets, 24-23, after the first quarter. “We didn’t get a good start – down 7-2 to start with,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We got back together a little bit, but still lost the first quarter. We lost the first three quarters and that put us up against it. Eleven (points) down going into the fourth (quarter) makes it really hard.”. .The loss to the Rockets snapped the Mavs’ season-high five-game winning streak. . .The Mavs are 12-10 at home, but have won six of their last eight home games. . .Doncic picked up a triple-double – 28 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists – back on Jan. 15 in Milwaukee. However, the Bucks walked away with a 112-109 win over the Mavs in that game. . .Doncic was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for his performance last week when he averaged 28.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 6.3 apg. . .Despite the ugly loss to the Rockets, the Mavs remain in first place in the Southwest Division – one-and-a-half games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies.
About the Bucks: Following 13 wins in 14 games from Feb. 19-March 24, the Bucks have run into a speed bump lately with losses in four of their last seven games. That includes losing a 122-121 contest at the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo missed that contest with a sore left knee. He has sat out the past two games with that same knee issue, and his status for tonight’s game is unknown. . .Milwaukee is in first place in the Central Division. . .Guard Jrue Holiday signed a four-year, $134 million extension with the Bucks on Sunday and was named on Monday as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his performance last week. In four games last week, Holiday averaged 26.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 8.5 apg and 2.5 spg, and shot 62.7 percent from the field, 45.8 percent from 3-point territory and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe. He also collected 22 points and 10 assists in last Friday’s 127-109 win at Portland, and added a season-high 33 points and 11 assists during Saturday’s 129-128 win at Sacramento. . .The Bucks were just 12-of-25 from the free throw line during their three-point victory over the Mavs back in January. Antetokounmpo was only 1-of-10 from the charity stripe in that contest, but still finished with 31 points (on 14-of-21 field goals) and nine rebounds. Khris Middleton collected 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists in that game, and added eight points in the final 2:21 that helped the Bucks hold off the Mavs. . .Tonight completes a six-game road trip for the Bucks before they return home to entertain the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. The Bucks are 14-11 on the road and 14-9 against Western Conference competition.