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Bucks vs. Blazers Final Score: Henson seals 90-88 victory with late block

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It was ugly, but the Bucks pulled out a late victory over the Trail Blazers with big plays from Michael Carter-Williams, John Henson, O.J. Mayo, and Greg Monroe.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks were up and down from quarter-to-quarter, minute-to-minute and second-to-second on Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. They outscored the Blazers by nine in the first quarter and were outscored by nine in the third quarter. Eventually, the Bucks pulled out a 90-88 victory with a strong series of plays in the game's final minute.

After taking a 4-2 lead with 9:02 remaining in the first quarter, the Bucks maintained a lead until a Damian Lillard three gave the Blazers a 62-60 lead with 19 seconds left in the third. The fourth quarter went back and forth until the Blazers led 88-84 following two made free-throws from Lillard with 22 seconds left. Then, things got interesting.

Following a timeout, the Bucks took the ball out on the left sideline and ran the play. Yes, that play. The play they always seem to run from the sideline at the end of games after a timeout. And it worked.

When asked about the play after the game, Greg Monroe joked, "That was a new play. I think that one was new. We have a lot of ATOs, so that was a new one."

Then, after the Blazers took a timeout to advance the ball to the front court with 16.8 seconds left and a one-point lead, it was assumed the Bucks would look to foul to extend the game. Instead, Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Antetokounmpo were able to trap C.J. McCollum on the right sideline and Carter-Williams amazingly forced a jump ball.

The 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams won the jump at mid-court by tipping the ball backward to Monroe. Carter-Williams collected the ball back from Monroe before moving into a pick and roll with center on the left wing. After a few dribbles to the middle of the floor, he found Monroe on the left block. Monroe collected and finished the lay-in with 5.1 seconds left to give the Bucks a 89-88 lead.

Carter-Williams had struggled throughout the game with six turnovers on the night, but he seemed quite confident in his ability to make a play late.

"I think I have to stick with what's open whether I'm struggling or not. On that play, Moose (Monroe) was open," Carter-Williams said after the game. "I thought I made the right decision by getting him the ball. The spacing was great on the opposite side, so it gave me room to work and get him the ball."

Again, the Blazers took a timeout to advance the ball to their end of the court for game's final sequence. The Bucks did a nice job keeping the ball out of the hands of Blazers' shooters, but their help allowed Meyers Leonard to come open around the right elbow. Inserted into the game for defensive purposes, Henson provided just that, quickly erasing the mistake of his fellow defenders.

"I was in the lane and my side was protected against backdoors or anyone working down (towards the basket)," Henson said of the block. "I was just happy to be in the right spot at the right time and I had the opportunity to make a play."

Henson was able to corral the block and give it to Carter-Williams, who was fouled with .6 seconds left. After making his first free-throw, Carter-Williams missed his second intentionally and the Blazers' full court heave fell short as time expired.

Despite pulling out the game late, Henson thought the game should have been over much earlier.

"To be honest, it shouldn't have been that tough. I think we had a chance to take them out and we let them back in it," said Henson. "We need to look at film and figure out how to finish it out when we have a team down, but we kept fighting. It kind of looked like the team of old. Last year, we used to fight to the end and live with the results."

BOX

Tidbits

  • The Bucks went to Middleton off the dribble and in the post to start the game. As you can probably guess, things didn't go well. Ultimately, Middleton was 1-for-13 from the field and 1-of-6 from the 3-point line.
  • MCW entered for Middleton with 4:12 left in the first quarter and then played the entire second quarter. That was 16 consecutive minutes.
  • Following a Lillard dunk, MCW properly pushed the ball up the floor and even knew to look at Jabari Parker. Unfortunately, he was way off target with the pass and turned the ball over.
  • Milwaukee started the second quarter with Carter-Williams/Vaughn/Middleton/O'Bryant/Henson. When Mayo and Parker re-entered with 5:55 left in the first half, the score was 31-24 when they left. Just -2 in their six minutes together.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver was in the building for the game tonight and appeared on the FS Wisconsin broadcast. He sat with Adam Silver, while Wes Edens was also in town with team consultant Rod Thorn.
  • There was only one three hit in the first half. It was a McCollum shot in the corner. During the next stoppage in play on a Lillard free throw, Henson and Carter-Williams got into it. One would assume it was over a missed defensive coverage.
  • The Bucks scored 17 points in the second quarter and 18 points in the third quarter. The Bucks have scored 18 or fewer points in 14 quarters this season and had two quarters with 18 or less points in two other games.
  • Monroe and Antetokounmpo saw their first fourth quarter action with 3:33 left in the game. They had played 24 and 27 minutes respectively until that point.
  • Before a Mayo pull-up three in transition (PU3IT) to make it 82-80 with 1:55 left, the Blazers had gone on a 13-2 run and the Bucks just didn't seem to have an answer.
  • Middleton picked up his fifth foul with 1:22 left in the game and the Bucks made offense/defense switches the rest of the way with him.

Thoughts

  • My game story only focuses on the final quarter of the game because the first three quarters were ATROCIOUS. It was a poorly played game by both teams.
  • I continue to marvel at the regularity with which Mayo finds Antetokounmpo or Parker for a dunk on a fast break. Feels like it happens 100 percent of the time.
  • The Bucks' secondary break has become significantly better in the last few weeks. (Think Antetokounmpo or Parker drives as the trailer of the play.) They have stopped scoring on their first move or pass in transition as often and instead started scoring during the in-between time between the fast-break and the start of their half court possession.
  • I mentioned Parker's "Maggette cut" last week. With his explosiveness though, I probably need to start referring to it as a Dwyane Wade cut.
  • Parker is still getting used to creating at the NBA level, but when he goes baseline, the play is ending only one way: Parker jumping in the air with the ball. Sometimes, that means a ferocious dunk. Other times, it means a nice pass to another player. Unfortunately, when it doesn't end in one of those two ways, it means Parker is flailing in the air and hoping someone manages to get open. That will improve with time, but it is sort of ugly right now.
  • Antetokounmpo scored 17 points and added nine rebounds. He scored six points in the first quarter, but was relatively quiet in the second and third quarters. Antetokounmpo was out for much of the fourth, but came in with 3:39 left in the game and quickly tallied six points.
  • Mayo was pretty much nonexistent for the first three quarters, but was huge down the stretch, hitting three of his four 3-point tries and tallying 11 points. His play has been massively important for the Bucks in the last two games.