A win is a win, and despite occasional bouts of sluggishness from Milwaukee tonight, they emerged with a solid 111-93 victory over Brooklyn powered by a second half where they outscored the Nets 59-42.
As usual, Giannis was the best player in the building, piling up 23 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four steals, two blocks and zero turnovers in just 30 minutes. Only Jason Kidd’s decision to rest Giannis in the fourth quarter could stop him from logging his second triple-double of the season, while Jabari Parker threw in 22 points (9-of-14 shooting) and Malcolm Brogdon added a solid 13 points including 3-4 from three. While they were outscored in the paint and in transition, the Bucks made up for it by burying a Jason Kidd Era-best 15-of-34 from deep and were also +11 from the foul line. Check out our podcast and full recap below:
Brooklyn featured a balanced but underpowered scoring set, with Brook Lopez (15 points on 4-of-12 shooting) and Sean Kilpatrick (14) leading the way. Milwaukee looked sluggish early on, and Brooklyn played them nearly to a standstill in the first half while the Bucks shot only 39%. The Bucks shooting came around in the second half, however, as they finished with 15 threes on the night from the likely candidates - Telly, Snelly and Brogdon - which pushed them into a commanding lead at the tail end of the third and start of the fourth. After a solid “taking care of business” game, Milwaukee will hope to beat up Brooklyn again back at the BMO on Saturday night.
Parker opened the game with some early facilitation, dishing to Snell for a corner three and a swift shovel pass to Henson near the bucket. Giannis kept up his end of the Bucks stardom duo, nailing a smooth catch-and-shoot three and adding transition buckets and assists before giving way to the typical first quarter Beas & Brogdon subs. Obviously Beasley came in right away looking to dish the ball...
Is this Michael Beasley's best pass ever?https://t.co/YNXvngYVsG— Behind the Buck Pass (@BehindTheBucks) December 2, 2016
Both teams featured balanced scoring in the first, as all but four players who appeared had scored by the end of the first quarter. Milwaukee played without Giannis or Jabari for nearly four minutes near the end of the period, but the Bucks still wound up ahead 27-26 after one.
Giannis opened the second with another no-hesitation three pointer, quickly answered by a Bojan Bogdanovic run out and easy and-one in transition. Bogdanovic nailed another three-pointer later to put Brooklyn back ahead 34-32, as Milwaukee continued forcing the ball down low to no avail. After a Coach Kidd timeout, Parker decided to rev his own engine, scoring seven of the Bucks nine points at one point. Kilpatrick wouldn’t have any of it though, going at Giannis and the rest of the Bucks’ defense with eight of his own points to keep the Nets within three, 48-45. MIlwaukee entered the half up 52-51 with Giannis (12 points), Parker (12) and John Henson (10) leading the way. Kilpatrick led the Nets with 12, but a poor shooting performance by both teams — Milwaukee at 39%, Brooklyn at 42% — led to an up and down half lacking in dramatics.
Both teams bounced back and forth early in the third until Lopez tied the game at 58 on a three. But Milwaukee responded with their first dominating run of the game, putting them ahead 77-64 after Giannis drive and kicks led to three-pointers from Tony Snell and Malcolm Brogdon. A former Virginia Cavalier clash ensued as Joe Harris nailed two threes with another Brogdon three sprinkled in to keep Milwaukee up 80-70. Giannis wound the quarter down with some nifty finishes at the basket and the Bucks lead expanded to 90-78 as the fourth quarter began.
Milwaukee started the fourth with Brogdon-Terry-Telly-Beasley-Moose. What ensued was a sloppy affair with little scoring and bouts of depression sans a Mirza Teletovic three-pointer. Six minutes into the quarter the total sat at only 96-82, a chilling early period scoring effort even for early December. But Milwaukee responded with a flurry of three-pointers from Teletovic and a pull-up triple from Jason Terry, and the lead ballooned to 105-86. The Bucks eventually won 111-93, as Parker returned to score six in the waning minutes with the game out of reach.
- Marc Lasry’s special friend Bill Clinton was in the audience tonight. I’m guessing he was in better spirits the last time he came to a Bucks-Nets game in Brooklyn.
- Miles Plumlee appeared for only the final 3:26 of the game in garbage time. His previous two games he has only played 1:38 and 2:48 respectively.
- Telly Hughes mentioned on the telecast that he saw Mike Tyson while working out this morning. I would pay whatever sum of money or organ was necessary to see that interaction.
- Malcolm Brogdon is shooting rather well of late. He was 6-7 on three-pointers in the last three games, and continued his streak hitting 3-4 tonight.
- Milwaukee recalled Rashad Vaughn for the game, an easy task given he was playing nearby for the Westchester Knicks. He appeared for the final 2:47 in garbage time.
- THON got in too, and while he missed a three, he had an athletic block on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
THE LONG ARMS OF THE LAWhttps://t.co/Gq0TLMHvrC— Behind the Buck Pass (@BehindTheBucks) December 2, 2016
- Jabari must’ve had Kopp’s this week, because he was looking to dish early in the game. Since some of the first games this season, he’s appeared far more comfortable finding guys within the flow of the offense rather than bullying his way down low and forcing the ball to his teammates. He’ll never be the kind of pure passer Giannis is, but any playmaking he adds is a huge positive.
- Giannis hit two early catch and shoot threes tonight. It sure seemed like his stroke looked a lot smoo...ah just kidding. I have no idea why these went in and others haven’t been. Good to see though. He wound up shooting 2-5 on the night, although one of those was a late quarter heave.
- I feel happy for Brook Lopez that he gets to shoot threes (3-for-8 from deep, 1-for-4 inside the arc) and generally do fun things on this team. After years spent in the Brooklyn bog, he deserves that.
- Greg Monroe is a pretty willing passer, but there was a point in the third when he was surrounded by the entire fleet of Nets defenders as he tried to grab the ball from the scrum. He continued trying to get the shot up despite open Bucks all around the perimeter. Just dish it out Moose, they’ll get ya back eventually.
- Jason Kidd went with a bench mob at the end of the first quarter into the second and for six minutes at the start of the fourth. While the lead never swooned against Brooklyn, it sure feels like Kidd is playing with a super boring to watch fire here.
- Coach Kidd also re-inserted Jabari Parker into the game with five minutes left and the Bucks leading 102-85. I appreciated having a player I enjoy watching on the court, but he may as well have just rested given they’re playing again on Saturday.