Milwaukee Bucks: 3 keys to victory when hosting Portland Trail Blazers

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 21 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 21 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard
Jan 11, 2020; Portland, Oregon, USA: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Second key to victory when hosting Trail Blazers – Milwaukee Bucks need to slow down Damian Lillard

The Trail Blazers will be without C.J. McCollum for this matchup and beyond after he recently suffered a fractured foot. McCollum was having an All-Star caliber season, and although he will be sidelined, the Bucks will still have their hands full trying to slow down Damian Lillard.

Lillard went on a tear in January, averaging 31.5 points on .472/.412/.946 shooting splits, 4.9 rebounds, and7.5 assists per game. The five-time All-Star capped it off with his best performance of the month Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls. Lillard posted 44 points on 15-of-26 shooting from the floor and 8-of-17 from 3-point range, which included hitting the stellar game-winning bucket in the closing seconds of regulation.

With Lillard currently possessing the hot-hand offensively, the Bucks will have to emphasize slowing him down. That means starting point guard Jrue Holiday will be tagged with the Lillard assignment defensively for most of the night, and the two are quite familiar with one another.

Holiday is most notably known for his defensive efforts against Lillard in a 2018 first round playoff series. He was instrumental in shutting down Lillard and helping sweep the Blazers in a massive playoff upset.

Lillard has since credited Holiday after his defensive efforts in that series, calling him the best guard defender in the NBA during an appearance on The Old Man & The Three podcast. Nearly three years later, the Bucks will need Jrue Holiday at his best to keep Lillard in check once again.