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Bucks vs. Kings Final Score: Milwaukee annihilates Sacramento in 117-91 dunkfest

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The Bucks dominated all facets of the game against an apathetic Sacramento squad

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

For the last two games, Milwaukee’s offense looked more potent than it has in some time. Tonight did nothing to dissuade that trend, as the Bucks demolished the Sacramento Kings 117-91 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. A beat down in every sense of the term, Milwaukee shot 50% from the field, including 14-33 from three (42%) while obliterating the Kings in fast break points 26 to 1.

No surprise here, but the Bucks’ young studs keep showing out. Despite sitting out the fourth quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a near triple-double with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals while Jabari Parker contributed 19 points, 6 boards and 4 steals of his own. Mirza Teletovic was the early star for the Bucks, breaking out of his slump from deep to score 22 points on 7/9 from three, including 4/4 in the first quarter. Rashad Vaughn continued his mildly promising start to the season with 14 points on 4/8 shooting from 3-point distance. Thon Maker got extended run once the game was out of reach in the fourth, and managed to nail a mid-range jumper over fellow rookie Skal Labissiere in addition to grabbing six rebounds.

Without noted Bucks killer Rudy Gay, Demarcus Cousins gave Sacramento 15 points and four rebounds, while Garrett Temple led the team with 19 points. The fact Temple led the team in points is about all you need to know about this game The Kings looked apathetic the entire night. Sacramento’s reserves were the only ones that seemed interested in playing; coincidentally Labissiere was about the only King that felt interesting to watch all night despite his modest 8 point performance. Regardless, the Bucks decimation of the Kings puts Milwaukee at a respectable 4-2 and, slowly but surely, their newfound offensive capabilities are starting to feel a little less like fairy dust.

The game started with the Bucks pushing the pace immediately, getting chances close to the basket or firing up 3-pointers off kick-outs. Giannis and Jabari starred early, scoring 10 of the team’s first 12 points on an array of free throws, lay-ins and emphatic dunks. Giannis’ most impressive sequence came when he pinned a Ty Lawson shot attempt against the backboard before flying down the court and dishing to Plumlee for the finish. Hot damn. His performance early on was all-encompassing.

Jason Kidd stuck with the same staggering pattern he’s used the last few games, taking Giannis and Miles Plumlee out around the six minute mark for Greg Monroe and Mirza Teletovic. After some back and forth between the teams, Teletovic committed on-court regicide, scoring 13 points on 4-4 shooting from deep in the final three minutes to extend the Bucks lead to 34-24 at the end of the first.

The majority of the second quarter was devoid of theatrics, but the Bucks did manage to extend their lead to 18 at one point, 48-30. Teletovic hit one more three during that period before missing his first of the night. The Kings chipped away, getting the lead down to nine eventually against a Brogdon-Snell-Parker-Beasley-Henson lineup. It was short-lived however, as Tony Snell hit a three soon after and the Kings wouldn’t get any closer the duration of the game.

After the starters re-entered near the end of the quarter, Giannis and Jabari continued trouncing the Kings in transition behind two destructive slams, including a nifty behind the back dish from Giannis to Jabari. The Bucks entered halftime leading 61-48 on 52% shooting (41% from deep) and nearly goose-egging the Kings in fast break points (16-1).

Giannis continued his assault on the rims to start the second half, scoring several times off steals and free run-outs into the open court. The Kings continued to have no answer for the Bucks at the rim, beyond the arc or honestly anywhere on the court tonight. After maintaining their lead for most of the third quarter, Milwaukee went on a 16-0 run to blow it wide open, 82-51. Teletovic nailed a Steph Curry range 3-pointer and Vaughn knocked down two triples as the third quarter came to a close with Milwaukee ahead 90-63.

The fourth quarter featured a battle of reserves, including a few relative old-timers like Michael Beasley and eventually Steve Novak. More importantly, Thon Maker got his first chance for extended minutes while playing the final nine minutes of the game. After badly missing his first attempt from three, he nailed a jumper over Skal Labissiere later in the fourth to much applause.

Resting their starters in the fourth will hopefully pay quick dividends on Sunday, when the Bucks take on the winless Mavericks in Dallas. Tip time is just after 6 pm CT on both FS Wisconsin as well as NBATV.

Tidbits

  • With the win over the Kings, the Bucks have now won three straight games. Last season, Milwaukee put together three winning streaks of three or more games. The final one came in the beginning of March when the Bucks beat the Heat, Pelicans, and Nets.
  • Also, from Frank:
  • The Bucks shot 33 threes on Saturday night. That is now the most threes for the Bucks in a single game during the Jason Kidd Era. If you recall, the Bucks also set a new high with 32 in their game against the Pelicans. (And they shot 27 threes against the Pelicans on Thursday.)
  • None of the Bucks’ starters played in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, which is quite helpful for the Bucks, who have another game in Dallas less than 24 hours.
  • DeMarcus Cousins came out of the game with three and a half minutes left in the third quarter and never returned. He was -25 in his 28 minutes.
  • Antetokounmpo (7-of-8) and Parker (7-of-7) were a combined 14-of-15 from the free throw line against the Kings.
  • Before Saturday night’s 7-for-9 outburst, Teletovic was shooting just 27.8 percent (5-for-18) from behind the line. He is now shooting 44.4 percent from deep.

Thoughts:

  • The Bucks don’t really seem all that concerned with Antetokounmpo bringing the basketball up the floor. They seem perfectly content with Dellavedova bringing it up and Antetokounmpo initiating from the wing. He is a point forward, not a point guard. And I’m totally cool with being wrong about that, Frank!
  • The effect Antetokounmpo has had on games this season is startling. When he is on the floor, he controls everything. After the game, Jason Kidd said, “I thought Giannis’ fingerprints were all over that game, both offensively and defensively.” That has been an accurate assessment of every game the Bucks have played this season.
  • Antetokounmpo’s block-push up the floor-assist sequence in the first quarter was one of the most incredible plays I’ve ever seen a Bucks player make. LeBron James and Kevin Durant might be the only other players in the NBA capable of such a feat.
  • Last season, the Bucks averaged 15.6 threes per game, the league’s lowest mark. In the last three games, the Bucks have averaged 30.7 three point attempts per game, which would have been the third highest per game total in the NBA last season. That is a significant shift, but both Nate McMillan and Dave Joerger (below) have said the Bucks aren’t doing anything differently offensively; they’re simply just shooting the open shots teams give them.
  • After losing to the Pistons, the Bucks have started shooting twice as many threes. They’ve started pushing the tempo. They’ve started staggering Antetokounmpo and Parker. The changes have been significant and I would love to know what triggered those changes.
  • In the past, the Bucks might not have shown up for this game and played down to the level of their opponent. In fact, the pessimist in me thought that was the likely outcome before the game. They did not mess around with the Kings and put them away in the third quarter. It remains to be seen if this team is actually good, but this was an overwhelmingly positive sign for a young team.
  • I struggle to think of the last time a Bucks team has played with this much swagger and confidence.