The Milwaukee Bucks were able to eke out a win against the Boston Celtics tonight, 108-100. Milwaukee took a 58-53 lead at halftime, powered by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton combining for 40 of those points. The same stars were able to dominate the second half, particularly Giannis who looked like every bit the MVP candidate people thought he would be in the preseason.
Considering the emotional resonance of this game, given Boston’s home opener and the disturbing injury to Gordon Hayward, this was an impressive victory for the Bucks. The tiers of the East are still in flux, but this was an incredible statement opening win for Milwaukee, particularly due to Giannis’ starpower.
Giannis had what felt like a quiet first half, but he rode his ludicrous athleticism to a 37 point, 13 rebound, three assist and three steal performance. Let’s just say that the second half featured a few fantastical finishes too, including this astronomically awesome slam against the Aussie Aron Baynes.
Middleton came through as his usual steady self, complementing Giannis with a 15 point, nine rebound, six assist game despite going just 6-17 from the field including 1-5 from deep. Meanwhile, Malcolm Brogdon had a promisingly competent game tonight as well, looking like the sort of steady starting hand Milwaukee needed with 19 point, four assist game. He rattled home a clutch 3-pointer down the stretch too, an impressively timed jumper the Bucks needed.
Jaylen Brown had another solid showing tonight after last night’s promising against the Cavaliers, posting 18 points and five rebounds before fouling out while defending Giannis. Kyrie Irving of course worked his usual offensive antics with 17 points, though not up to his usual standards given he had the slow-footed Bucks point guards defending him.
Stat That Stood Out
Milwaukee attempted just 21 3-pointers (making seven), a significant decrease from their preseason average of 30 attempts per game. The decrease in 3-pointers and deflated shooting percentage didn’t cost Milwaukee the game tonight, but it did put a depressing damper on the gunning narrative following this team after its preseason. That’s not really the big takeaway from this game though, and this rings true as a resonating moment for the time being in Milwaukee.