*towels self off*
The Bucks came up short at home Monday night, keeping things close for as long as they could through a scorching hot shooting night from the New Orleans Pelicans in a 114-103 loss. New Orleans shot 59 percent from the field and made 9-15 from deep. Eric Gordon (16 points), Quincy Pondexter, and Elliot Williams hit seven of the nine threes, and it seemed as if each one came at a critical juncture in the game.
Now let's talk about Anthony Davis, shall we? The Pelicans were paced by Davis (43p/10r/6a/2b) all night, and there was virtually nothing they could do to stop him as rained contested jumpers on them from all over the court. His presence on the court was enough in the first half (his 20 points helped, too), and the Bucks found themselves down early as they tried to adjust.
Milwaukee seemed ready to take the game over after overcoming a double-digit halftime deficit, led by a career best night from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who put up a stellar 29p/5r/4a/3s/3b line. I don't recall him hitting a jumper outside of 10 feet, but Giannis was merciless off the dribble both in transition and in the halfcourt, and was just making light work of credible human defense. Oh, he was also dunking all over the universe. More on him later, though.
Michael Carter-Williams had his best performance as a Buck, putting up 25p/7a, but a few poor decisions late in the game threw a little water on what was otherwise a solid night. Khris Middleton was off to another fine start with 12 points in the first half, but didn't factor into much in the second half. He finished with 17 points.
Davis -- who you may remember from Kentucky or his role as these monsters from Cabin in the Woods -- was otherworldly tonight. Brow drilled 17 of 23 shots -- most of them tough jumpers -- from all over the court and I think at one point he was levitating above the rest of the players. He may have been glowing, too. I can't really remember.
To put it in less drool-y terms, he was outstanding. I mean, look at his shot chart for crying out loud.
Anthony Davis's shot chart looks like a lawn pic.twitter.com/FOVd4Bx1tV— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 10, 2015
-- Brow vs. Giannis. My goodness, how fun was that to watch? Two young superhumans trading punches and showcasing amazing basketball skills for an extended period of time. Yes. I'll take more of this, please and thank you. Shall we reserve a table for this at a future NBA Finals? Perhaps, but let's settle for March 17th, when these two will go at it again in New Orleans. Losing the game notwithstanding, this matchup was everything we could have asked for.
-- New Orleans shot 58.7 percent in the game, the highest percentage Milwaukee has allowed this season. Additionally, the Pelicans' 61.5 percent field goal percentage in the first half of tonight's game was the highest the Bucks have allowed in any half this season. The Pelicans did few things wrong offensively, and the Bucks couldn't put an end to what they were trying to do. Only a sprained ankle could keep Tyreke Evans from wriggling into the paint at will, and the Pelicans didn't suffer much of a drop-off when he went to the locker room for the fourth quarter. Either they got punished by guarding Davis one-on-one, or they sent help and got burned by the other guys. Just a difficult night for the defense, which allowed 52% shooting to guys who weren't Anthony Davis.
-- It was a weird night for the Bucks' veterans. Giannis, MCW, and Middleton were the only three players to score in double figures. Ersan, Zaza, Dudley, and Bayless didn't put any real stamp on the game, combining for just 15 points total. Barf.
-- He's playing limited minutes and not asked to do much, but Chris Johnson continues to make the most out of his 10-day contract. When he was signed that I wouldn't be surprised if he got the Chris Wright treatment (signed on the cheap through the summer and unguaranteed heading into next season), and so far he hasn't done anything that makes me want to back off that statement.
-- The Bucks will get a chance to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday when the Orlando Magic make a visit. I don't think Anthony Davis will get traded to them by then, so things should look and feel decidedly different.