In accordance with the holiday, we are thankful that style points don’t factor into the win-loss columns. With this win, the Milwaukee Bucks snap their two-game losing streak and start off their West Coast road trip on the right path, no matter how ugly it was. The victory also gave fans reason to feel somewhat comfortable about the team’s depth; the Bucks won despite missing a number of contributors from the active roster were Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee), Mirza Teletovic (knee), Matthew Dellavedova (knee), and John Henson (eye). Gary Payton II also left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
Giannis’ absence opened the door for Khris Middleton, who led the way with 40 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals, including a clutch three in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Eric Bledsoe, returning to Phoenix for the first time as a Buck, made it a point to establish his presence early and fought through the boos to deliver 30 points and 7 assists, but he did commit 7 turnovers and miss seven free throws, which severely limited the team’s room for error.
The Suns were led by a familiar face; Greg Monroe put in 22 points and 15 rebounds, and generally established position at-will against the undersized and undermanned Milwaukee front court. Phoenix’s effort was also bolstered by Devin Booker (23 points, 4 assists, 3 blocks) and T.J. Warren (20 points, 11 rebound, 3 steals).
Despite maintaining control for much of the game, the Bucks let the Suns back into it in the fourth quarter, and after the lead shrunk bit by bit, overtime was forced by an absurd three from Booker:
How the hell did Booker hit this? https://t.co/GEVRbo9ezv— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) November 23, 2017
STAT THAT STOOD OUT
Bucks fans will call them “takeaways” while Suns fans might claim that they were “giveaways,” but no matter what word you use, the Bucks had a +15 turnover margin (29 to 14). Several of Phoenix’s miscues were sloppy; the Bucks did come up with 16 steals in this contest, but the young Suns roster committed as many unforced errors as you’d expect young players to. DeAndre Liggins (5 steals) was particularly pesky for the Suns guards, and showed the traits that make him a viable NBA player this evening. Overall, Milwaukee was remarkably impotent once they got possession of the ball in this game, but actually forcing turnovers is the biggest bar for the Bucks defense to clear.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Enjoy the things that make you thankful, travel safely, and take solace in the fact that we never have to watch this game again.