If the Los Angeles Lakers want to raise banner No. 18 this season, one team they might have to go through is the new-look Milwaukee Bucks. Coming off of a blockbuster offseason trade that pairs Damian Lillard with Giannis Antetokounmpo, there are plenty of reasons to Fear the Deer, who are the co-favorites (along with the Boston Celtics) to win the 2024 NBA title, according to our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The NBA’s newest superstar tandem has yet to suit up together in the Bucks’ two preseason thus far, but that will change on Sunday, as we’ll get our first look at Freak Time vs. the Lakers in Los Angeles:
Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said on NBA Today just now that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dame Lillard will make their debut together in Milwaukee’s preseason game against the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 11, 2023
Death, taxes, and stars getting healthy just in time to play the Lakers, smh (heavy sarcasm font).
It’s just preseason, so all the same caveats we’ve applied to Lakers lineups thus far are still relevant for the Bucks — who knows how long Dame and Giannis will play together, or how hard they and their teammates will go, etc. etc.
Still, as far as reasons to tune in for a game that doesn’t count go, it’s hard to argue with the first glimpse of what should be a seamless superstar pairing, as well as a potential NBA Finals roadblock to the promised land the Lakers want to get to.
It remains to be seen which Lakers will be suiting up for this one, and even if the answer is “everyone” it’s hard to treat an exhibition as a true measuring stick game, but still, there is certainly at least a tad more intrigue here than for a normal preseason game. That’s reason enough to flip it on... at least for the first half.
Because we all know the second half is Maxwell Lewis time, which is ALWAYS must-watch.
Start Time and TV Info
The Lakers and Bucks will tip off at 4 p.m. PT on Sunday, Oct. 15 at The Crypt in Los Angeles. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.
Injury notes and updates
- The Lakers have not been releasing injury reports for the preseason, so we’ll see who among the guys that have sat out games so far — LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves (rest), as well as Cam Reddish (ankle), Gabe Vincent (back tightness) and Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) — are cleared to play in this one.
- James has sat out every other game so far, so him sitting out on Sunday and then playing the team’s final preseason game on Thursday wouldn’t be surprising.
- The Lakers are reportedly “monitoring” Vanderbilt’s heel injury closely, but believe he will be ready for the regular season.
- If you’re curious about where the Bucks are at, our friends over at Brew Hoop are must-follow for analysis, and I thought Riley Feldmann’s “10 Way-Too-Early Preseason Milwaukee Bucks Takes” after two preseason games was very good, most notably their realization about our old friend — and possible Bucks starter/defensive stopper(???) — Malik Beasley.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.