Next stop: regular season basketball.
The third quarter remained a struggle for the Milwaukee Bucks once again on Wednesday, with the Indiana Pacers starting the second half on a 23-10 run against the Bucks’ starters. But the Bucks were able to hold their ground and end the preseason on a positive note with a 111-103 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. With the win, the Bucks finished their six-game preseason schedule with a .500 record (3-3).
The stellar preseason play of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker continued Wednesday with both players putting up impressive stat lines. After a slow start, Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 20 points to go alongside six rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Parker was right behind Antetokounmpo with 19 points and led the team with 10 rebounds. It wasn’t all good with the Bucks’ two young stars though as they combined for 10 turnovers - six from Antetokounmpo, four from Parker. Paul George scored 18 for Indy while Myles Turner was impressive on both ends with 16 points, nine boards and a pair of blocks.
The two teams were relatively even to start the game with a 25-24 score after one quarter, but Dellavedova was the standout at the start of the game. He dished out four assists in the first six minutes, including assists on the Bucks’ first three baskets. For a second straight game, the Bucks jumbo starting lineup of Dellavedova / Antetokounmpo / Parker / Mirza Teletovic / Miles Plumlee came out of the gates strong.
The Bucks followed up the first quarter with a strong second quarter, which saw Milwaukee’s starters again get significant minutes and perform well to give the Bucks a 55-52 lead after two quarters. Antetokounmpo scored 10 points in the second quarter, while Plumlee added six points and six rebounds in the quarter to almost pull of a first half double-double (10 points, eight rebounds).
Unfortunately, the third quarter continued to be a nightmare for the Bucks, as the starting unit came out flat again. After the game Dellavedova acknowledged that the team is aware of the problem and even tried a more stringent warmup before the third quarter, but it didn’t really have any effect on their play. Despite the calesthenic assistance, the Bucks struggled to keep up with the Pacers and quickly found themselves at a deficit for the entire quarter. Indiana’s pace caused the Bucks troubles throughout the game, finishing with a 26-14 edge in transition.
The Bucks were able to regain the lead early in the fourth, but the Pacers seemed ready to go back and forth until they removed Jeff Teague, Lavoy Allen, and Al Jefferson from the game with 5:49 left. At the same time, Bucks coach Jason Kidd added Antetokounmpo and Dellavedova to a lineup already featuring Greg Monroe, Malcolm Brogdon, and John Henson. They quickly rattled off a 9-0 run against the Pacers’ reserves to put themselves in the driver’s seat on the way to a 111-103 victory. Dellavedova finished with nine points (4/4 shooting) to go with seven assists while Brogdon also finished the preseason on a relative high note, scoring 13 to go with seven rebounds and three assists.
With their preseason now complete, the Bucks will now have a week off to prepare for their regular season opener next Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center against the Charlotte Hornets. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m, and it looks like our friends at Seat Geek have plenty of good seats still available.
UPDATE: Check out our podcast discussion of the game (and general thoughts on the Bucks’ preseason) below: