|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 19, 2018
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 17,341
Pelicans, Bucks keep going without injured players
New Orleans Pelicans at Milwaukee Bucks
- The Pelicans have alternated wins and losses in their last 10 games. New Orleans lost its most recent game at home to Miami, 102-96, failing to score 100 points for only the second time this season. Only the Hornets (once) have been held under 100 points fewer times.
- New Orleans' bench combined to shoot 7-of-27 (20.6 percent) in the loss to Miami, scoring only 20 points. It is the seventh time the Pelicans have gotten 20 or fewer points from their bench this season -- their bench scoring average of 29.6 is second lowest in the NBA (Hou -- 27.6).
- The Bucks have won two in a row and four of their last five, most recently beating the Pistons on the road, 107-104. Milwaukee shot 36.0 percent (9-of-25) from three in the win and has gone 12-2 (.857) when shooting 35.0 percent or better from beyond the arc this season, the second-best record in the East in such games (Toronto -- 14-1, .933).
- Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points against the Pistons, topping 30 with zero made three-pointers for the second straight game. Since last season, Giannis has 20 such games -- Anthony Davis has the next most with 17 in that span.
- The Pelicans have won three straight versus the Bucks, and own a 26-9 (.743) record versus the franchise, the highest all-time. The next-best record versus the Bucks belongs to the Nuggets at 59-36 (.621).
- The Bucks (117.6) and Pelicans (116.7) rank first and second in points per game this season. Milwaukee leads the East in three-point attempts per game (39.9) while New Orleans ranks fifth in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game (25.8).
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Forwards Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle will watch from the bench Wednesday night when the New Orleans Pelicans look to get back to .500 when the visit the Central Division-leading Bucks in Milwaukee.
Both are dealing with sprained ankles. Mirotic has missed the Pelicans' last two games thanks to an injury first sustained Nov. 17. Randle went down late Sunday during a loss to Miami and has yet to return to practice.
Their injuries are the latest blow for a team already playing short-handed after Elfrid Payton broke a finger, leaving him out of action at least until after the holidays, and kicking off a stretch of four straight games against opponents with records better than .500.
"It's a challenge with (Mirotic, Randle and Payton in the lineup), so obviously it's going to be a challenge without them," Bucks coach Alvin Gentry said of missing both Mirotic and Randle simultaneously for the first time this season. "You just have to play games. That's why they play the game. We played Boston without three of their starters and four of their top six guys and that's why you have guys on the roster and it's why you try to get as deep as you possibly can."
Depth hasn't exactly been a strength for the Pelicans, who rank 29th in bench scoring this season with just 29.6 points per game. New Orleans' reserves have been outscored in each of the last five games -- averaging just 19.2 points -- while opponents' second units have averaged 45.8 points during the same stretch.
"This group has the ability," Solomon Hill said. "We just have to trust each other and know we can get keep better and turn that corner we keep talking about. Injuries are part of the game and we know that, but they do change what we do and they change some of our roles, but that's all part of it.
"The games keep coming and we just have to play through it. We'll get it figured out."
Forward D.J. Wilson has for the most part languished at the end of Milwaukee's bench this season but is looking to build on a breakout performance his last time out when he had nine points, three rebounds and three assists as the Bucks held on for a 107-104 victory Monday night in Detroit.
"I just thought he played great," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Wilson. "His focus, his energy, just everything he did. I told a lot of people how great he was in September and early in training camp. It's great to see him healthy. His teammates trust him. We all trust him."
An injury to Ersan Ilyasova made it possible for Wilson, the team's first-round draft pick a year ago, to get extended playing time. Milwaukee's second-round pick in that draft, guard Sterling Brown, also got additional minutes while Malcolm Brogdon remained sidelined with a sore left hamstring.
Budenholzer said the injury was "mild" but that the team was taking a patient approach to Brogdon's recovery.
"I think we're just ... maybe being aggressively cautious if there is such a phrase," Budenholzer said. "He's not quite right and I think just considering the long haul, the big picture, just give him another day or two or just give him until when he's ready."
The Pelicans swept the season series a year ago and have won three in a row overall against the Bucks, who haven't won a season series against the Pelicans since the franchise moved to New Orleans for the 2002-03 season.
Updated December 18, 2018