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Milwaukee vs. Detroit: Bucks Sneak Past Pistons, 104-100

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A damaging third quarter was redeemed with some valiant effort in the fourth

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After blowing a nearly double-digit lead to start the second half, the Bucks were able to pull themselves to victory with a redeeming final 12 minutes of play.

The night quickly started off with the Bledshow coming into effect, as he notched a brisk seven points. Combined with a few highlight Giannis dunks, it was good enough for a Milwaukee 30-27 lead after one. The second quarter would feature more of the same, this time with Khris Middleton providing a jump start, as he cascaded on a flurry of 12 points. The solid first half from the newly acclaimed Big Three resulted in a 60-51 halftime lead for the Bucks.

A combination of flopping and questionable calls allowed the Pistons to creep back into the action and more scoring from Harris would knot the game up as the action headed to the fourth. From there, Milwaukee used a well-rounded fourth quarter to fuel themselves to victory.

The birthday boy Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds, with Khris Middleton contributing 21 of his own. Four of those came via the charity stripe, as he helped put the game on ice in the final seconds. Eric Bledsoe also reached the 20-point mark, finishing with 22 on the night.

Andre Drummond was the star of the night for Detroit, finishing with a game-high 27 points and 20 boards.

Three Main Observations

Jason Kidd continues to make Bucks fans scratch their heads.

With the game almost nearly completely in the Bucks hands as the final seconds ticked away, Jason Kidd opted to use some...interesting coaching tactics, to say the least. Up four at 103-99 with 10 seconds remaining, he had the Bucks intentionally foul. In his postgame presser, he defended it by saying how Detroit is attempting to play the game of quick twos by saving their timeouts. In turn, the Bucks will play the free throw game with them (Insert the Jesse Pinkman, “What?” GIF here). That just doesn’t make much sense. Apparently, Kidd did that before when he was coaching in Brooklyn. Just odd all around.

Once again, we realized the importance of the Big Three.

In recent games, Milwaukee has developed their own version of a Big Three with Giannis, Middleton, and Bledsoe. They shined the brightest early on, with Bledsoe lighting the match. It proves the simple thought process of when you have scoring, good things are going to happen. At times, it would circulate between the three. But man, when all three are on their game? That’s when the Bucks really pull away from teams and inflict the most damage. It’s wishful thinking for all of them to be on their game at the exact same time and synchronize perfectly through the quarters, but when they do? Pure bliss.

Rashad Vaughn showed what he can bring off the bench.

You know it’s a good night when Rashad Vaughn had the night he had. It just brings a happy feeling out around the arena. Everyone loves to see a cocky Rashad Vaughn. It’s in our nature. That was the scene as he chipped in with 11 points off the pine, two of which came from 3-pointers. It’s even better when he’s doing it with Giannis & Co. on the floor and not the reserve units that we’re so accustomed to see him accumulate playing time with. In a young career where he hasn’t had too many moments like these, we can definitely hope that this sets the pace for repeat performances in the future.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Following his tremendous 40/9/4 stat line from Boston the other night, Giannis was Giannis once again. Though he had a drought that resulted in his first basket of the second half coming with 9:40 left in the game, he still paved the way for Milwaukee in the scoring column. It wasn’t his best work, but it got the job done. Now, here’s a fun #BirthdayGiannis fact. Antetokounmpo has the most points (5,3654), rebounds (2,407), and assists (1,230) in Bucks history before turning 23 years of age.
  • It was another double-digit attempt night at the line for Giannis, which was comforting to see. He’s been on a roll late (22 attempts on 12/2 against SAC, 14 attempts against the Celtics), and as he continues to earn more and more calls from the zebras, it’ll be exciting to watch.
  • With his 22 points on the night, it marked the seventh game for Eric Bledsoe in which he’s scored 15+ points. Talk about contributions to the team. The latest part of the Bledshow’s game is his 3-point shooting. Although he’s still only shooting 31% overall from deep since joining Milwaukee, he’s hit 45.8% over the last five games on 4.8 attempts per game. We always had a hunch that this would be the case, as he couldn’t miss any worse than he was during his first few games with the team. But he’s a talented player, and talented players fix the flaws in their game -- and that’s just what Bledsoe is doing now.
  • Am I the only one that notices that John Henson is playing more aggressive down low in the paint? Not necessarily when he gets the ball down in the post, but let’s say he earns a rebound down there. Typically, he goes back up by just laying it in. That occurred a few times last night, but what also occurred were a few slams. It’s something that we can definitely hold our heads up to, as we continue the voyage into the post-Monroe era, we can take all the added fuel down in the land of the giants as possible. You have to give credit where it’s due, and John Henson has really been filling a major role for the Bucks in recent games.
  • It looked like Brogdon approached a few finishes at the rim in awkward fashion. I don’t know if it’s anything to worry about, but it sure looked odd from press row. You’d obviously like to see him connect on those, but he did have a few diamonds in the rough (which included a nifty reverse).