The Bucks paid homage to their Y2K days tonight in every possible way they could imagine, but couldn't grab the win like they were accustomed to doing so back then, falling to the Indiana Pacers, 110-100.
A night stacked with so much "off-court" entertainment (which I'll get to later) was surprisingly matched with on-court ferocity from both teams. Indiana set the tone early, not allowing the Bucks to get anything clean underneath the rim or in the paint at all en route to a 44-22 lead midway through the second quarter. Thankfully, Brandon Knight played through the heel laceration that kept him out of Thursday's loss and picked up the Milwaukee slack with 20 of the team's first 33 points en route to a 30-point night. Driving with reckless abandon against the league's best defense, Knight was key in willing the Bucks back into the game and slashing the Indiana lead to a more manageable 51-39 margin at the half.
Knight picked up right where he left off to start the third, with Khris Middleton and O.J. Mayo also finding their range to bring the game to within five on multiple occasions. However, the Pacers' stars stepped up when they needed them most, and Indiana started to deal blow after blow that the Bucks eventually could not keep up with. Paul George (32p/5r), Lance Stephenson (24/9r/8a--15p in the 4th), and David West (30p/7r/5a) were simply too much for the Bucks to control, offsetting a rough offensive outing from Roy Hibbert (1/9 fg, 4 pts). Credit Zaza Pachulia for using his physicality to keep Hibbert off balance, though the Bucks ultimately couldn't stop anyone else as Indiana bounced back from a disappointing loss in Minnesota on Wednesday to win their East-best 42nd game of the season.
It would be rude to not put Brandon Knight first, because he honestly played a pretty stellar game. He faded just a little bit towards the end of the third quarter, but a 30p/8a/5r performance is nothing worth throwing stones at. As we've talked about so many times in these threads, Knight can look like he's forcing the issue a little bit. On nights like these though, he was really the only guard gutsy enough to navigate his way through the trees in an effort to get himself and others going. He was relentless all night and his energy rubbed off considerably on a few of his teammates. Did I mention the part where he did not turn the ball over once? That was pretty neat.
Giannis had terrible match-ups for the majority of the night--Paul George turned him around a handful of times--but still manged to come away with a respectable 8p/6r line. There was a moment right before the end of the third quarter where he burst out on the break and gyro-stepped around the defense, almost finishing on an outstretched dunk. It was near perfect but back-ironed out, and it made me so very hopeful for a few years down the road when Giannis is strong enough to finish it more emphatically. The intensity and energy is there with Giannis already without question, but holy crap it's going to be amazing when he finishes those with more frequency. The roof will blow off this place.
Speaking of things that are amazing, JEFF ADRIEN, Y'ALL. In his first action with Milwaukee, Adrien contributed 6p/11r in 18 minutes, as well as some very physical interior defense against David West and company, getting into a little bit of extracurricular activity with them for good measure. Adrien will
always probably never give you a 20-10 performance in the post, but his physicality and passion down low is a very nice complement to the tube men's lighter approach. You aren't going to hear a lot of people complain about a role player willing to throw his body everywhere for statistical scraps, so even if Adrien doesn't necessarily wow you with any kind of important upside, he'll at least be down there trying to make way for those who put up the numbers. I can dig it.
Larry Drew said after the game that Nate Wolters tweaked his ankle a little bit. I doubt Wolters will miss anything more than a shoot-around or practice, but .
I said I'd get to a couple of moments from Y2K night, and I did not forget about it 600 or so words later. So here we go:
Coolio performing 'Gangster's Paradise'
The greatest song ever in Bucks history was played on the jumbotron tonight as well.
This concludes Milwaukee's six game homestand. They'll hit the road to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday (woof) and will visit Indiana on Thursday before returning home to host the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.