3 things to watch as Milwaukee Bucks begin trip vs Portland Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 02 (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 02 (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Portland Trail Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic
PORTLAND, OREGON – APRIL 02: (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks should have their way against the Portland Trail Blazers defense

Just like how Powell makes the Blazers’ offense less of a threat, losing Covington makes things a lot easier for the Bucks to score on them as well.

Even with Covington and new head coach Chauncey Billups, the Blazers’ defense is very bad. They rank third-last in defensive rating at 113.9, it’s really not going well in Portland. Their supposed anchor at the back end, Jusuf Nurkic, has done his best in their aggressive scheme blitzing pick-and-rolls, but it hasn’t mattered.

Believe it or not, Covington was actually the Blazers’ best rim protector at over a block per game. No one else on Portland’s active roster tonight is above 0.6 blocks per game (McCollum and Nurkic). Per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required), they’re one of the league’s worst rim protection teams, allowing opponents to shoot 66.4 percent inside which is nearly two percent higher than league average.

In the Bucks’ lone game against Nurkic last season (which they won by 18), Antetokounmpo flat out owned the Blazers. He posted 47 points on 21 shots (87.9 percent true shooting), 12 rebounds, two assists, a steal, and three blocks. Holiday and Middleton chipped in with a combined 42 points, 11 rebounds, 18 assists, and five steals in that one as well.

So the Blazers already couldn’t defend and moved their best rim defender as well as a solid perimeter defender? Expect to see the Bucks scoring with relative ease tonight against an incredibly porous Blazers defense.