Dallas Mavericks vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Q&A With Adam McGee


The Dallas Mavericks take on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at the AAC. We sat down with our friends at Behind the Buck Pass for some inside info.

The Dallas Mavericks look to extend their three-game home winning streak tonight against the Bucks, but they’ll have their hands full with the young talent Milwaukee has to offer.

We sat down with Adam McGee, editor at Behind the Buck Pass, lead contributor at HoopsHabit, and features writer for FanSided to get some more info on what to expect from the talented, but underachieving Bucks. Make sure to follow Adam at @AdamMcGee11. He’s as big a Zaza fan as the rest of us.

1.) The Bucks were a popular pick to make “the jump” as a franchise before the season started but have been underwhelming so far. What has been the problem(s)?

This is such a big question and there are so many potential answers. Personally, I put it down to the team having a lot to figure out. Zaza Pachulia, Jared Dudley and Ersan Ilyasova were vital as glue guys/locker room presences last season, but unfortunately it seems like the organization may not have realized just how important until it was too late.

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The Bucks are a team who have had countless lineup changes, are probably still searching for an identity with this group, and just never seem to do what you expect them to. Confidence individually and as a group swings up and down, and that’ll likely continue. They’re still in position to make a jump in the near future. Now they just need to make sure they use this season as a learning experience.

2.) Milwaukee has a lot of young talent across the board, and currently have seven players averaging double figures. Who is the biggest concern for the Mavericks in this one?

This is probably the best thing about the Bucks. Any given player can be the leading scorer on any given night. For this game I’d lean towards Michael Carter-Williams though. He struggled against Toronto on Saturday, but he has generally been very good over his last 10 games.

Historically, he tends to do very well against smaller guards, so if he finds himself matched up against JJ Barea as many anticipate, there’ll be a great opportunity for MCW to showcase what he can do.

3.) How much do the Bucks miss Zaza? Is it fair to say they undervalued the toughness he brought to the front line?

I don’t think they undervalued him as much as they just didn’t know what to do with him long term. Pachulia would be a vital presence in the Bucks locker room at the moment, and as he’s showing in Dallas, he can offer so much with his intelligence on the court too.

It was easy for Milwaukee to assume that they had found an upgrade by adding Greg Monroe, who is a better player in terms of raw talent, but Zaza’s smarts were never as dispensable as the team made him look with that ridiculous trade.

4.) Which Maverick causes the most concern for Milwaukee in this one?

Dirk will certainly offer an interesting matchup. His size will probably dictate that Giannis Antetokounmpo covers him at the four, and that will be an interesting challenge for the Greek Freak. Giannis has had his fair share of interesting covers throughout the season, ranging from LeBron James to Tim Duncan, so that won’t be new to him.

The challenge in that matchup for Antetokounmpo comes not in terms of physicality where he’ll be able to disrupt Nowitzki, but with focus. Like all young teams, the Bucks are prone to lapses in concentration, and that’s exactly the kind of thing that Dirk could end up exploiting.

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5.) Who wins, and why?

This seems like a pretty clear cut battle between two very different teams, which is exactly when the Bucks have been at their most dangerous this season.

Saying that the Bucks have been terrible on the road all season long. I’ll lean towards an experienced and well-coached Dallas team winning out pretty comfortably over a still developing Milwaukee group. I’ll be hoping that I’m wrong though!