At times it was ugly, but in the end, the Bucks got what mattered against the visiting Lakers — a 98-90 win over their western conference foe.
Things started off slow, but throughout the first half, Milwaukee always seemed to be somewhat in control of the game. There were times where things would briefly tip the Lakers’ way, but it never really felt as if the Bucks were truly in trouble.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading scorer on the night, finishing with 33 points. He also hauled in 15 rebounds while dishing out three assists. In other words, just another casual night for the Greek Freak.
Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova came off the bench and supplemented some nice roles. The ROY of the year contributed with 16 points, and Delly chipped in with ten. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe also reached double figures.
For Los Angeles, the story of the night was Lonzo Ball. The rookie became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double, and by watching SportsCenter or visiting r/nba on Reddit, you’d think the Lakers won by 20. But nonetheless, the 19/11/13 stat line is impressive, so you have to tip your hat to the young fella.
Three Main Observations
John Henson is beginning to fit in more.
When Monroe was dealt for Eric Bledsoe (well, actually when Monroe was injured), it became apparent that Milwaukee would rely on J-Hook more. So far, he’s found a groove in his track and has put forth contributions we haven’t seen from him in a while. He’s connecting on hook shots (which I still cringe at whenever he puts one up), being more aggressive on defense, playing the assist game better, and even putting in some jump shots every now and then. With Moose out of the picture now, Henson’s performance is going to need to be quite valuable.
Matthew Dellavedova filled his role nicely.
It’s definitely not what a lot of fans want to see, but for the second night in a row, the Aussie was the first to relieve Eric Bledsoe of his point guard duties. Many fans (including myself) are scratching our heads at the idea of Delly being the one to fill those shoes, but Kidd obviously sees something different. Last night, it worked for him. Delly ended the night with a +20 and 10 points (Brogdon with a +23 and 16 points, so take that as you will). It’s just nice to see that decision not be as disastrous as it initially sounded.
This team is maturing and I’m loving every minute of it.
If these two games were on the schedule in the same format in year’s past, here’s what would’ve likely happened. First, the Bucks would’ve more than likely got blown out at San Antonio. Next, they would’ve came in here tonight, and allowed Lonzo Ball to get both the postgame accolades and the win. Thankfully, neither of those happened, and the Bucks went 2-0 on the back-to-back, and that’s huge for this team. The NBA schedule can be brutal at times, and the back-to-backs are the epitome of that. It’s so awesome to see the squad finally taking a step forward and doing something they haven’t done frequently in years past. Winning on consecutive nights is something that good basketball teams do, and the Bucks just did it.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- At times, it appeared as if Giannis tried to do too much. By this, I mean he would dribble down low in the post, draw two defenders, and then put up a contested shot. I’m sure a few occurrences happened due to the shot clock winding down, but for the most part, it looked ugly and unneeded. It feels weird writing something I don’t like about Giannis so I’m going to go to the next bullet point.
- I love the Lakers jerseys. Purple and gold are such classic uniforms, and I swear, they pop even more in person. I was a little disappointed they went with the yellow (I prefer the purple), but it’s a nice consolation. At least it wasn’t that Hollywood Nights black.
- The first half missed the trio of Bledsoe, Snell, and Middleton. They ended up ending the opening 24 minutes with just 11 points. When it was all said and done, the trio ended up with 24 points. In a game against better teams than the Lakers, they’re likely going to need to step up, as those performances won’t cut it. Tony Snell actually didn’t even score a single point, which is definitely not good. Let’s hope performances from these three won’t be repetitive moving forward.
- Since there likely won’t be another time for me to give my opinion on the Big Baller Brand here at Brew Hoop, I’m going to do it in this bullet point. I love Lavar Ball and the whole Big Baller icon. Can it be annoying at times? Yes. Will I ever buy any of their merchandise? No. I just love the passion Lavar brings, along with the intensity. I just find all of his antics to be so funny. We’ve never seen anything like it before. I mean, your kid steals from three stores in China and then you decide to open up a Big Baller pop up shop? I love the confidence. I love me some Lavar Ball and Big Baller Brand.
- DeAndre Liggins continues to act as a diamond in the rough. Once again, he was an aggressive force on the defensive side of the ball and found ways to impact the game without scoring. There was one possession where he drew an offensive foul out of Julius Randle (two Kentucky products going at it) at the top of the key. Liggins hit the floor, but got up and celebrated by pumping his fist with tremendous ferocity. In turn, it got the crowd fired up and the Bucks were able to keep momentum rolling. He might not be the most glamorous player, but boy is DeAndre Liggins fascinating to watch on this team.