Fixture: Milwaukee Bucks vs New Orleans Pelicans - NBA Preseason Game
Date & Time: Friday, December 18th, 2020 - 8 PM ET (Saturday, December 19th, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
The Eastern Conference heavyweights, Milwaukee Bucks are heavy favorites against the New Orleans Pelicans. However, the Bucks are coming off back-to-back preseason defeats to the Dallas Mavericks.
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
With their squad completely healthy heading into the 2020-21 season, the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to capture a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Social media erupted when they beat last year's runner-ups, Miami Heat in their first preseason matchup. Analysts were impressed by how cohesive the New Orleans outfit looked in their only preseason game so far.
The New Orleans Pelicans have a young squad and the preseason games are a great way to give the youngsters minutes and develop team chemistry. The Pelicans played their only preseason fixture without Eric Bledsoe and JJ Redick in the lineup.
Key Player - Zion Williamson
Although he is entering only his second year, and played just 24 games last season, Zion Williamson is expected to take the New Orleans Pelicans to the promised land. Several athletes and coaches have called him a once-in-a-generation type athlete. Many believe he would have won the 'Rookie of the Year' award had he not been injured.
Despite having the reigning 'Most Improved Player', Brandon Ingram, on the team, a lot of the attention will inevitably be on Zion Williamson. According to reports, Zion lost 25lbs and was looking incredibly swift on the practice court. He also issued a statement regarding his second season:
"I rely on instincts and IQ. Last year, I could only rely on IQ and my body wasn't able to do certain things. Now, I have them both again. I think it's going to be a big difference."
New Orleans Pelicans' Predicted Lineup
G Lonzo Ball, G Josh Hart, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks have started their 2020-21 NBA preseason campaign poorly. They lost both preseason games against the Dallas Mavericks despite the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaging 24.5 across both fixtures.
The Milwaukee Bucks are notorious for dropping their performance levels in the postseason. However, after some offseason moves, they look to finally conquer the Eastern Conference.
After being the Eastern Conference top seed in the regular season for two consecutive years, the expectations around the team are very high. The Milwaukee Bucks need to make adjustments and change their style of play in the playoffs to avoid another postseason exit.
Key Player - Jrue Holiday
One of the biggest offseason moves made by the Milwaukee Bucks was acquiring defensive guard, Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. The franchise exchanged Eric Bledsoe for Holiday, who is expected to be an upgrade.
Many analysts were quick to point out how Jrue Holiday elevates the Milwaukee Bucks' title chances but he is yet to establish himself. He scored just 4 and 11 points in the two preseason games.
Although Holiday is still figuring out his role and chemistry with the team, a lot of people will focus on him. This game is against his former team and he is expected to put in a better performance.
Milwaukee Bucks' Predicted Lineup
G Jrue Holiday, G Donte DiVincenzo, F Khris Middleton, F Giannis Antetokounmpo, C Brook Lopez
Bucks vs Pelicans Match Prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks are heavy favorites to win against the New Orleans Pelicans. However, it is important to note the Bucks have lost their preseason games while the Pelicans pulled off an upset against the Miami Heat. In this game, the Pelicans will have home-court advantage and that could be a huge factor in the outcome.
The Bucks need to improve their rotations. More importantly, they need to give Holiday more minutes with Antetokounmpo and allow the two stars to build their offensive chemistry.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans look great and new head coach, Stan Van Gundy will be looking to avoid any injuries before the NBA regular season.
Where to watch Bucks vs Pelicans?
The game will be locally televised on Fox Sports New Orleans and Fox Sports Wisconsin. International fans have the option of streaming the game live on the NBA League Pass.
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