BUCKS AT NUGGETS, 9 P.M. ET

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  • The Bucks will be shorthanded against the fast-paced Nuggets. Guard Gary Neal (back spasms) is a game-time decision but will likely not play, while rookie Nate Wolters is starting despite suffering from a cold. With guard O.J. Mayo already out and forward Caron Butler not on the trip with a left ankle sprain Milwaukee’s backcourt is going to rely on rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight to play heavy minutes. “We’ll probably have to shuffle people around,” Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said. Guard Luke Rindour could see more playing time against Denver.
  • Drew said center John Henson is not on any minutes restriction after missing the last three games with a sprained right wrist. Center Zaza Pachulia’s playing time is still being watched as he returns from a right foot fracture. Pachulia played 18 minutes Monday, his second game back after missing 28. “We probably played him a little more than we wanted to,” Drew said of Monday’s win over the Knicks.
  • The Nuggets backcourt played heavy minutes in Monday’s win over the Clippers. Randy Foye (40:12) and Ty Lawson (44:47) were needed for every minute to pull out the victory, which came on Foye’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. Lawson’s minutes were a season high and came in his first game back after missing two with a left rotator cuff strain. “He came out with a lot of energy and showed us what we missed the previous two games,” Shaw said. “(Tuesday) he was fine and today he seems to be fine.”
  • Denver has struggled against teams with losing records but has played well against elite teams. Shaw has implored his team to not take sub .500 teams lightly, which it has against the likes of Charlotte, Cleveland. Philadelphia and Utah. Shaw said he wants his team — individually and as a whole — to match its effort against the Clippers on Monday tonight against the 9-39 Bucks. “I challenged Kenneth (Faried) to take the same approach when he knew he was going to have to face Blake Griffin, he’s got to bring tonight against (Ersan) Ilyasova,” Shaw said of his forward, who had a career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds while matched up with the All-Star. “I’m just using Kenneth as an example. Stars in this league, night in and night out, they get it done.”

– Michael Kelly

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