Zion Williamson passes out of the post while being defended by Giannis Antetokounmpo

Top 10 Pelicans Home Games of 2021-22: No. 2 vs. Bucks

by Jim Eichenhofer

Friday, Dec. 17 (9 p.m., ESPN)

Why it’s on the list
Although the cities of Milwaukee and New Orleans don’t appear to have much in common, other than their status as NBA smaller markets, the national TV networks have made it a priority to broadcast every Bucks-Pelicans game in recent seasons. It’s easy to understand why, because the two teams feature two of the most unique forwards in recent NBA history, two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson, who made his professional All-Star debut in March. Both matchups last season more than lived up to their billing, with New Orleans prevailing 131-126 on ESPN in January, while Milwaukee answered with a 129-125 verdict on TNT in February. Antetokounmpo racked up 38 points in both games against the Pelicans, while Williamson averaged 27.5 points, topped by his 34-point outing at Fiserv Forum.

Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
Do not adjust your phone or computer – the extremely unusual tip-off time of 9 p.m. Central you read is correct. The late start in the Smoothie King Center is a result of it being the second half of an ESPN doubleheader that begins in the Northeast with Golden State at Boston. For New Orleans, the home game vs. Milwaukee is sandwiched around three road games, with stops in San Antonio (Dec. 12), Oklahoma City (Dec. 15) and Philadelphia (Dec. 19). After a very brief offseason, the trip to the Crescent City will be Game 31 of the 82-game slate for Milwaukee’s trio of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, the latter NOLA’s all-time leader in three-point baskets.

What’s new in Milwaukee
The Bucks focused on shooting and playmaking during the offseason, signing guards George Hill and Rodney Hood in free agency, while trading for Grayson Allen, who had some excellent stretches for Memphis while facing New Orleans. Milwaukee also added wing defender Semi Ojeleye, who could help replace some of what was provided by P.J. Tucker (signed with Miami).

#PelicansHomeGamesBracket results
Milwaukee had a much easier time reaching the final round of this competition than it did in the real 2021 NBA postseason, first dominating Atlanta (75-25 percent), followed by victories over Phoenix (59-41 percent) and Philadelphia (74-26 percent). The Bucks were narrowly defeated by bracket champion Memphis, which captured 52 percent of votes.

Other 2021-22 games between these teams
Saturday, Jan. 1, New Orleans at Milwaukee (NBA TV)

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