A pair of teams will be looking to rebound after blowout losses when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon.
Milwaukee (48-29) is coming off one of its worst losses of the season, as it fell 153-119 to the Clippers on Friday night. Los Angeles’ 153 points were a franchise record for a regular-season game, and the Clippers shot a staggering 60.9 percent from the field.
The Bucks’ defensive struggles stemmed from the fact that they were without a number of their top defenders, as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez all were ruled out hours before game time.
“(Los Angeles) played really, really good ball. They shot it incredibly well. They created good shots,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “At the end of the day I don’t think we kept the ball in front of us well enough.”
Jordan Nwora paced Milwaukee with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Bobby Portis trailed close behind with 25 points and eight rebounds, and Jevon Carter chipped in 18 points and eight assists.
Despite the loss, the Bucks have been playing well at home, winning six of their past seven in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Holiday and Lopez are all expected to be back in action on Sunday.
Although he has missed three of the past seven games, Antetokounmpo has been stellar when active. The two-time MVP is averaging 34.8 points and 14 rebounds over his past four games and has recorded six consecutive double-doubles.
Dallas (48-30) also struggled in its most recent outing, falling 135-103 to the Wizards on Friday night. The loss snapped a three-game win streak, and the Mavericks have dropped four of their past five on the road.
With its win over Cleveland on Wednesday, Dallas clinched a playoff spot for the third straight season.
“We have to get back to the details of our defense, and that’s what we’re built on,” coach Jason Kidd said. “When you sometimes clinch, there’s a time to relax, and I think we relaxed. We didn’t play very well. Luka scored the ball, but again defensively, we got to get back to the way things were.”
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting and had seven rebounds and six assists. Jalen Brunson posted 21 points, and four other players finished with eight.
Doncic has been on a tear as of late and has eclipsed the 30-point mark in each of his past four games. He also notched a triple-double against the Lakers on Tuesday, his 10th of the season.
Trey Burke and Sterling Brown will miss the contest against Milwaukee due to the league’s health and safety protocol, and Theo Pinson will be out with a finger injury.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (left foot surgery) will be inactive for Dallas and is unlikely to return for the postseason.
Sunday marks the second and final meeting between Dallas and the Bucks this season. Milwaukee came away with a 102-95 victory on Dec. 23 behind 26 points from Middleton and 24 from Holiday.