Alex Boeder: 10 Games of Intrigue
Before last season, you probably would not have circled an early-December road game against the Wizards as one of the best games on the schedule. Same goes for that November game in Boston, or the February home tilt against the Knicks. Yet all three of those ended up being some of the most memorable games of the season when they actually happened.
And so we know it is futile to predict which games will be the best when the schedule comes out. Nonetheless, it is August. Which means circling games on the calendar is what we will do, and not just that… no, we will feel good about doing it.
Because the fun part is having no idea. The fun part is wondering… and then watching all of the games, so you don’t miss this on a brisk February night in Milwaukee.
Anyway: Here are 10 games that sound moderately great now. Check out the full schedule here.
10. Oct. 29 – Bucks @ Hornets – 6:00 p.m.
The last Charlotte Hornets home opener featured a starting lineup of Baron Davis, David Wesley, Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown and Elden Campbell in 2001. So it is true. The Bucks have not lost a game to the Charlotte Hornets in the last 10 years. In any event, the new old team is bringing back the classic purple and teal logo that adorned Starter jackets so perfectly in 1993, and they are re-kicking it all off against the Bucks. Wonderfully and coincidentally, this might also be the best Charlotte team since that aforementioned 2001 starting five that went on to go 44-38.
9. Nov. 26 – Bucks @ Timberwolves – 7:00 p.m.
When they (Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker) faced off in Vegas at Summer League, hundreds of fans waiting in line before the game were turned away because the gymnasium was at capacity. The top two draft picks and early Rookie of the Year favorites square off for the first time in the regular season within the first month of the season in Minnesota (assuming the widely reported Wolves/Cavs trade does, in fact happen), and then play in Milwaukee on Jan. 9. Do not watch if you dislike fun things.
8. Dec. 13 – Clippers @ Bucks – 6:30 p.m.
Chris Paul missed last season’s visit to Milwaukee. He is the best point guard in the world, and one of the real basketball treasures we have. But he will probably be out of his prime by the time the Bucks make the Finals in 2019, so this is as good of a time as ever to see him play. At 6-0 and 175, he is reasonably close to the average male height and weight in the United States. Despite this, he manages to control a game made for excessively large humans. In short, impressive.
7. March 28 – Warriors @ Bucks – 7:30 p.m.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Warriors rated as merely the 12th-best offensive team in the NBA last season, but the 4th-best defensive team. Still, when Stephen Curry is on, they rank approximately 1st in enjoyment. Curry was off last season when the Warriors visited Milwaukee, so a shootout may be in order. (This is probably one of those times when I am completely wrong.)
6. Oct. 31 – 76ers @ Bucks – 7:30 p.m.
It is the Home Opener. It is Halloween. And it is two teams with eyes on running the conference in five years. Home Openers on Halloween are always the ideal excuse to not figure out a costume. Good for me. Not only that, the 76ers and Bucks have some of the top young talent in the game, including rookies Nerlens Noel and Parker.
5. Jan. 15 – Knicks @ Bucks – 2:00 p.m.
The Bucks are the home team, but home is really in quotation marks, because the game is taking place in England. For the first time ever, the Bucks will play a regular season game overseas, and it is just one of two NBA games this upcoming season to be played outside of the United States or Canada, and the only game outside of North America. Plus, we may get to see Giannis and Thanasis (of the Antetokounmpo collective) match up. And again: Here is what happened last time the Bucks played the Knicks at home, Europe or not.
4. Dec. 31 – Bucks @ Cavaliers – 6:00 p.m.
I am over here Google Mapping how long of a road trip it is from Milwaukee to Cleveland right now. LeBron James is firmly in his prime, but it won’t last forever, and so everything he does in the next few years is a must-watch. Plus: this is New Year’s Eve. It just feels like something absurd should happen. For those of you, like me, who decided that a six-and-a-half hour car drive in a rear-wheel drive vehicle in late-December might not be the most reasonable thing to do, the Cavaliers visit Milwaukee on March 22 and April 8.
3. March 9 – Pelicans @ Bucks – 7:00 p.m.
Anthony Davis is both the trendy and logical pick to break out this summer and lead Team USA to gold at the FIBA World Cup. The Pelicans are an honest playoff contender, even in the super-competitive West, and that is largely because Davis will probably be verging on entering top five or six territory of all NBA players when this spring game rolls around.
2. Jan. 10 – Bucks @ Bulls – 7:00 p.m.
So, the Bucks have split their last four in Chicago, including my favorite game of last season. Here’s to John Henson breaking out early again – and more often. (He went for 25 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks, three steals and two assists on that December night in Chicago last year.)
1. Nov. 5 – Bulls @ Bucks – 7:00 p.m.
Fun Fact Except Light On The Fun: The Bucks have lost eight straight home games to the Bulls. All of them have been excruciating in their own way. Exactly half of those eight games were decided by three points or fewer. One of them was a Derrick Rose last-second game-winner on my birthday coming off his MVP season. Less of some of these things, please.