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Feb 7, 2024 8:48 pm

Home after tough trip, Bucks take on Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards

The Milwaukee Bucks will try to turn the page on a disappointing five-game road trip when they return home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.

Milwaukee went 1-4 on its road trip, which marked the team’s first five games with Doc Rivers as head coach. The Bucks are coming off a 114-106 loss against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, which followed a 123-108 defeat against the Utah Jazz two nights earlier.

A series of recent injuries has soured Rivers’ start with the team. Damian Lillard (ankle) and Brooks Lopez (personal) both missed the game against Phoenix, and Khris Middleton left in the first quarter after sustaining an ankle injury.

“Just a tough blow,” Rivers said. “Having (Middleton) and ‘Dame’ and Brook out takes a lot off the floor. I thought we fought, hung in there. You just felt at some point we wouldn’t have enough offense on the floor. And that’s probably what happened.

“I thought defensively we were really good (against the Suns).”

Middleton has been ruled out against the Timberwolves. Lillard is listed as questionable, while Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and Cameron Payne (knee) are among those listed as probable.

The Bucks will face a Timberwolves squad that has surpassed all expectations but has encountered recent turbulence. Minnesota has lost two of its past three games and three of its last six, including a 129-123 overtime loss on the road against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

Anthony Edwards had 38 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot in the loss. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 33 points and made seven 3-pointers on 16 attempts.

Edwards focused on another statistic that overshadowed his personal scoring totals. The Timberwolves squandered a 22-point halftime lead against the Bulls.

“That’s the theme of our team, theme of the year,” Edwards said. “We can’t keep leads. We’ll figure it out, though. It’s still early.”

Rudy Gobert said he and his teammates cannot maintain their bad habits.

“We’ve got to find a way to forget about the score and be dogs for 48 minutes,” Gobert said. “Also, once again, too much talking to the officials. They’re not going to get better. I think we’ve got to focus on ourselves.”

The Timberwolves must find a way to slow down Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 49 games. He is shooting 61.1 percent from the field.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 34 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against Phoenix. Malik Beasley added 22 points and made a half-dozen 3-pointers.

Minnesota could see the team debut of point guard Monte Morris, whom it reportedly acquired from the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. In exchange, the Timberwolves would ship Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr. and a 2030 second-round pick to the Pistons.

This is the firsts of two meetings during the regular season. The teams are scheduled to meet again Feb. 23 in Minneapolis.

–Field Level Media

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