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Bucks’ Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez react to not playing vs. Nuggets despite being healthy

Bucks, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez

Two Milwaukee Bucks starters reacted to sitting out against the Denver Nuggets despite being healthy. Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez were a late scratch on Monday after playing the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, each feeling a different way about it.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer insisted he played the guys that gave him the best chance to win, but Middleton didn’t take direct offense to it:

“Obviously, I mean, I guess he thought I would have been like s**t tonight on a back-to-back in high-altitude situations,” said Middleton, according to Matt Velasquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “So that might have been the case a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Lopez claimed he was benched for sleeping through a meeting earlier that morning and getting his due punishment:

“Knowing Bud and me, probably. Probably,” said Lopez, who was later asked if other guys had slept through the meeting as well.

“No,” Lopez said with a laugh. “I think other guys were there. I don’t know. But I don’t know, maybe he’ll double it up somehow, too. I’m sure he has other evil ideas in his head besides just this.”

The shorthanded Bucks were also without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe. They stayed competitive for most of the game but wound up losing 109-95, making this three straight losses — their longest skid of the season.

The Bucks have been dominant this season, but with just 17 games left on the schedule, it seems they’re looking to rest legs a bit to take on the playoffs in full force. So long as these rest situations don’t cost them the top seed in the league, it could prove a smart gamble by Budenholzer. However, the Los Angeles Lakers are now just 2.5 games back overall and one back in the loss column, so thing are getting tight in that race for the best record.