Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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NBA Preview: Milwaukee Bucks (49-19) at Phoenix Suns (37-31)

The Milwaukee Bucks, who will play the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday to end their three-game Western Conference trip, have star center Brook Lopez.

After the 15-year veteran was ejected in the final seconds of Milwaukee’s Monday game at Sacramento following a fight with Kings forward Trey Lyles, the question now is whether Lopez will be available.

The Bucks defeated the Kings 133-124 thanks to 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks from Lopez.

Lyles fouled Giannis Antetokounmpo with 15.4 seconds remaining, giving the Milwaukee star a small push. After that, Lopez got in Lyles’ face, and Lyles punched Lopez in the face. This caused a scrum, and it took several players and referees to break it up.

Lopez is averaging 21.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in seven games this month, making him one of the leading contenders for the league’s defensive player of the year award. He has the most blocks in the NBA with 169.

After missing three games because of soreness in his right hand, Antetokounmpo played on Monday and scored 46 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

In the victory over the Kings, Milwaukee forward Khris Middleton scored a season-high 31 points and had nine assists. On Tuesday, the Bucks will likely rest Middleton, who has missed 43 games this season because of injuries, as they try to be cautious in the second game of a back-to-back set.

After defeating Phoenix 104-101 on Feb. 26 in Milwaukee, the Bucks are looking to complete a season sweep. They have won 10 of their last 11 games on the road.

After winning four games, Phoenix has lost two in a row. In the Suns’ 123-112 defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Monday in San Francisco, Devin Booker scored 32 points and Deandre Ayton had 27 points and 12 rebounds.

Due to a sprained left ankle, Suns forward Kevin Durant missed his third straight game. The Suns are hopeful that Durant will be nearly at full strength at the time of his reevaluation in two and a half weeks.

The majority of the Suns’ scoring has come from Booker and Ayton since Durant has been sidelined. To help fill the void left by Durant’s absence, coach Monty Williams is looking for players like Josh Okogie, Torrey Craig, and Terrence Ross. When Okogie faced the Warriors, he scored 11 points.

As the Suns play their third game in four nights on Tuesday, depth will once again be crucial.

Phoenix has a home record of 22-11, but a road record of 15-20.

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