The Milwaukee Bucks will take their perfect record on the road Monday night when they open a five-day, three-game trip against the Atlanta Hawks.
Benefitting from a schedule that has seen them play seven of nine at home, the Bucks have opened with nine wins in a row, matching the 14th-longest run ever to begin an NBA season.
A 10th consecutive win would move Milwaukee into a tie with the 1972-73 Boston Celtics, 1993-94 Seattle SuperSonics and 2000-01 Philadelphia 76ers for 11th on the all-time list.
Among the Bucks’ nine victims were the Hawks in a 123-115 decision in Milwaukee on Oct. 29. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday paced the win with 34 points apiece, allowing the Bucks to prevail on a night on which Trae Young exploded for 42 points for the visitors.
Milwaukee survived a rare close encounter with a 110-108 home win over the Detroit Pistons in their next game, and have since rolled on with 25-, 13- and 14-point victories.
The Bucks are coming off a 108-94 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. Milwaukee will also see the Thunder on this trip, in between visits to Atlanta and San Antonio.
Antetokounmpo should be well rested for the first multiple-game trip of the season. He sat out in load-management mode in Saturday’s win over the Thunder, opening the door for Brook Lopez to go for 25 points, Grayson Allen for 19 and Jevon Carter for 18.
Lopez labeled the night a win-win situation.
“It’s kind of exciting,” Lopez said. “Giannis gets a chance to rest, to refill his cup, and we get a chance to get better and see what it’s like without him on the court. We all knew that we’d all have to chip in. You look across the board … everyone who (played) had an impact.”
The Hawks have already endured a long trip, having gone 3-2 on the trek that included the loss at Milwaukee.
They finished that trip with a win at New York last Wednesday and created a winning streak Saturday by opening a four-game homestand with a 124-121 overtime triumph over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Young had 34 points against New Orleans and joins Antetokounmpo (32.6) among the NBA’s top 10 scorers at 28.2 per game.
The Bucks will be seeing the Young-Dejounte Murray backcourt pairing for the second time. Murray chipped in with 21 points in the earlier meeting in what’s been a smooth transition with Atlanta after five seasons with the Spurs.
“It’s gonna be pick your poison,” Young said of the dynamic pairing. “It’s gonna be times where I can focus strictly on scoring, and that’s fun. I’ve had to do both (scoring and ball distributing) for a long time — trying to get everybody involved as well as score, too.”
The Bucks came up short in both visits to Atlanta last season, losing 120-100 in November and 121-114 in January.
–Field Level Media