The defending champions are again seemingly playing their best basketball at the most important time of the season, as could be seen in the Bucks’ easy win over the Wizards on Thursday.
They did so without star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sat out for the second time in three games with a sore right knee.
“We know what time it is when it comes to winning games, knowing that the (regular) season’s about to end, knowing that we want to be the best seed possible to have that advantage and knowing that the pressure’s kind of on us,” guard Jrue Holiday said. “We won last year and we want to win again.”
- All-Star Khris Middleton has missed two straight games with a sore wrist, and he seems to be day-to-day. Same goes for Antetokounmpo. “I don’t think it’s anything long-term or anything significant, but we’ll see whether (Antetokounmpo) travels tomorrow and make decisions on the game Saturday as we kind of see how he feels and learn more,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Pascal Siakam indicated every one of his 35 points in Thursday’s win over the Cavaliers were needed, given that the game had a playoff atmosphere. “It was a good game, it was a big game,” Siakam said. “I think every game is a big game.”
- The night also marked the return of OG Anunoby, who had missed the previous 15 games with a fractured ring finger. “I was really impressed with the fact that he hasn’t played and he came back and played like he did today,” Siakam said. “Good job to OG.”
- The Raptors (41-32) are tied with the Cavs in the standings, but remain in seventh in the East, given that the Cavs won the season series, 3-games-to-1. Seven of Toronto’s final nine games are at home.
Unlike the Bucks and their late-season rise, the Wizards are going in the other direction, having lost eight of nine entering Friday. They have been without All-Star guard Bradley Beal for a while, and Kyle Kuzma (knee tendinitis) has missed three straight games.
- As it stands, the Wizards are now guaranteed a fourth straight losing season, as relayed by Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
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