OK, so maybe it’s “NBA basketball” in name only, given that the Bucks and Mavs were both opening their preseason tonight in front of a crowd of dozens of Dallas residents. Expectations going into the game were appropriately low; the Bucks are holding open auditions for their 15th man spot while Dallas looks to retool after a disappointing season last year. The Mavs led for most of the first half, and while Milwaukee developed a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, Dallas fought back to make this one a nail-biter until the final seconds.
As we all assumed and reported earlier on Monday, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed with his family instead of traveling with the team. Giannis’ timetable for a return to the team is currently undefined; he’ll be back when he’s back. Thon Maker also missed the game with a minor ankle injury, leading Jason Kidd to give both rookies (D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown) the start.
Khris Middleton led the way in the first half with 12 points and 3 assists, but did not play after halftime. Rashad Vaughn was feisty off the bench, scoring 20 on (more than) his fair share of shots and firing up a wayward game-winning attempt at the final buzzer. The Bucks spent much of their time dividing minutes up between Brandon Rush, Gerald Green, Gary Payton II, Kendall Marshall, and Joel Anthony...but John Henson still was able to give us a few moments.
Dallas spread the wealth around considerably, with sixteen players logging 10+ minutes in the game. Backup point guard Yogi Ferrell led the way for the Mavs with 12 points, but it was Johnathan Motley who cleaned up a miss to give the Mavs a 2-point lead with only 4.7 seconds remaining.
Stat That Stood Out
Dallas led the way in free throw attempts by more than double, shooting 27 times from the stripe compared to Milwaukee’s 12 measly foul shots. However, the Bucks didn’t pay for that discrepancy as much as they probably should have; the Mavericks only converted 15 times (55.7% on FTs)...meaning that this game probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was.