The last time the Portland Trail Blazers played at the Milwaukee Bucks, Anfernee Simons started in place of Damian Lillard and scored 31 points in a 122-107 victory.
On Monday, Simons will once again start at the Bucks in place of Lillard, who is out with a right lower leg strain, which occurred during Saturday’s loss to Utah.
Lillard will be reevaluated in one to two weeks leaving Simons to run the team for at least the next four games, all on the road. The Blazers have become accustomed to playing games without key players including Jusuf Nurkic, Jerami Grant, Justise Winslow and Anfernee Simons leaving the latter confident that the team can still win without Lillard.
“I think we just need to play how we’ve been playing,” Simons said Saturday when asked about potentially playing the next several games without Lillard. “We’ve already played games without Dame, without Jerami (Grant), without Nurk. So, we’ve gotten quality game time without the main guys on the court.”
The Blazers (10-6) are 7-2 this season in games when Lillard starts and finishes. They are 0-2 in the two games he left because of a right lower leg injury. The first occurred Oct. 26 against Miami at the Moda Center. Portland is 3-2 without Lillard playing at all.
One little tidbit that should be mentioned in reference to last season’s game won at the Bucks is that Giannis Antetokounmpo did not play that night. He is expected to play Monday. However, Khris Middleton is out with a wrist injury.
To win, the Blazers must figure out a way to make up for the loss of Lillard’s offense. The Bucks lead the NBA in defensive rating (106.2). The Blazers are averaging 111.9 points per game with Lillard in the lineup and 105.4 without him.
The Bucks have generated just 15.5 points off of turnovers per game (27th). This is a huge weakness for the Blazers, who had surrendered 19.9 (25th). The Bucks have forced 13.9 turnovers per game (23rd). Given how well the Bucks play defense, keeping that turnover number down will be a must for the Blazers because they will likely find it tough to score as it is.
Bucks’ opponents have shot just 44.3% from the field, second lowest in the NBA.
Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard to be reevaluated in 1 to 2 weeks
Portland Trail Blazers fall back to earth ahead of 4-game trip
Frustrated Damian Lillard says calf strain not as painful as 1st injury, expects to miss time
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS AT MILWAUKEE
What: Trail Blazers (10-6) vs. Bucks (11-4), 5 p.m., Monday.
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee.
Radio: Rip City Radio (KPOJ 620 AM).
TV channel: Root Sports Plus (in Portland: Comcast 1253, DirecTV 687-1).
Watch the game live online: You can watch this game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial). You can also get this game on DirecTV Stream’s “CHOICE” package (promotional offers), if you are out of fuboTV trials, or simply prefer that platform and their pricing plans. If you already have a cable or satellite provider that carries Root Sports and want to watch online, you can watch this game live on Root Sports Live. Games can also be watched through EvocaTV with a monthly subscription.
ODDS (Oregon Lottery/DraftKings)
Moneyline: POR +300 | MIL -365
Spread: POR +8.5 | Over/Under: 215
Blazers: Damian Lillard (right soleus strain), Keon Johnson (left hip pointer), Gary Payton II (return to competition reconditioning) and Greg Brown III (G League) are out.
Bucks: Joe Ingles (ACL surgery recovery), Wesley Matthews (right hamstring strain) and Khris Middleton (left wrist) are out.
The Blazers’ four-game trip continues 4 p.m., Wednesday at Cleveland (9-6).
— Aaron Fentress | afentress@Oregonian.com | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook). Subscribe to Oregonian/OregonLive newsletters and podcasts