Thank you Atlantic Division, for letting the Bucks go home satisfied tonight.
The Bucks snapped their 11-game losing streak by beating the Boston Celtics 92-85. Let's waste no more time and get to three players and one fan that highlighted an enjoyable evening.
Brandon Knight played a very well-rounded game tonight, no matter how you try to slice it. Tonight, fans got a glimpse of what Knight is capable of becoming if he can find a way to fight off those cumbersome turnover habits. Knight finished one rebound and two assists shy of a triple double while shooting 50 percent from the field and playing solid defense. Only a few days after dissolving late in the game against Washington, Knight came out aggressive and finally effective for the most part. He'd easily be the MVP of this game if it wasn't for a certain Greek teenager. More on him in a second, though.
O.J. Mayo had 22 points on 9-14 shooting to lead the team, shaking off some rough recent shooting nights. I think what I particularly liked about this Mayo performance is that I was surprised by it when I checked the box score at the end of the game. Granted I spent most of my attention waiting for Sign Guy's next move (more on him later as well), but when Mayo is putting up efficient scoring numbers and it doesn't seem like he's forcing his way into the offense, then fun nights like this are bound to happen a little more often. Right? Well, maybe not. But tonight it did and that's all that matters until the next game.
We've now arrived at the Giannis Antetokounmpo portion of the story. You can exhale and/or call your friends into the room or whatever you feel like doing now. The 18-year-old chipped in with ten points, seven rebounds, and four assists in 27 minutes. He also made some highlight plays that will make your spirits soar to heights not known before tonight. With Caron Butler once again out with a sore knee, he made a rare entrance into the game late in the first quarter and played out the first half. He then came back in late in the third and played most of the fourth until he was replaced late by Luke Ridnour so the team could have an extra ball handler to count on. In both his stints though, Giannis played with ridiculous amounts of energy we honestly hadn't seen from anyone else on the roster all year. He was bouncing around on defense and being more active off the ball on offense. He was everywhere tonight.
While Giannis isn't going to be this effective every night statistically, what he has been able to do without much difficulty is inject the team and fans with genuine excitement for the on-court product. No matter what he does when he plays, the murmurs grow louder and the celebrations are more enthusiastic when he's out there. When you couple that with him making significant plays you get that feeling that all Bucks fans have been dying for for the last few years. That feeling that there is a genuine reason to stick through this difficult period, knowing that something rewarding is waiting just around the corner. For one night, the BMO Harris Bradley Center could enjoy that feeling again, and it's really because of what Milwaukee's youngest player did.
During the game, one fan caught our attention. He wasn't shouting anything obscene like most fans that catch your attention, though. No, this guy was responsible for some of the best in-game signs I've ever seen. Here is Sign Guy (Kaz Gunning) in action:
Evidence pic.twitter.com/t41SUADukH— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) December 1, 2013
He's at it again pic.twitter.com/zm2FTIHgHw— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) December 1, 2013
Since I was admittedly so distracted by this guy's fantastic work, I decided to learn just a little bit more about him. Like I said, Sign Guy's name is Kaz Gunning and he's from Los Angeles but was visiting family in Northern Illinois. This was his only real chance to catch a Bucks game and couldn't pass up the opportunity. I asked him what his inspiration for the signs were and he said, "Well, I mean...doesn't Brad Stevens seem like a nice guy?" Very true, Kaz. Thanks for the laughs tonight.
- VIDEO | Full highlights of the night Giannis Antetokounmpo lit up the Bradley Center
- Brad Stevens seems like a good guy: Sign Guy shines at Bucks game
- Bucks final score: Giannis sparks Bucks past Celtics, 92-85
- Celtics vs. Bucks Preview | Milwaukee looks to avoid dirty dozen
- Caron Butler and Ersan Ilyasova out vs. Celtics, John Henson and Ekpe Udoh to start