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Bucks vs Mavericks: Improved Second Half Pushes Bucks to Victory

It was almost a disaster but Milwaukee turned it around

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Milwaukee Bucks played the Dallas Mavericks, it was the worst loss the team had all season. The rematch was off to a solid start with Milwaukee holding an early lead, before Dallas went on a late first quarter run. Dallas behind some good three point shooting, again, and a cold Bucks shooting night, again, was in the driver’s seat the majority of the game with Dallas leading by as much as 13 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo was doing all he could to keep the Bucks in it, but it wasn’t until the last few minutes that Milwaukee would be able to slim the lead to one at the end of the third quarter. A big fourth quarter behind Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe on offense and Thon Maker on defense would help Giannis and Milwaukee pull away for a 109-102 win.

Three Bucks Observations

  • With Tony Snell out injured with left patella tendinitis, that opened up an open spot for someone to take his place in the starting lineup. The winner was Gary Payton II and the last time that happened, the Bucks got rained on from three and lost badly to the Utah Jazz. In that Jazz game, GP2 played seven minutes. Tonight he had only played five minutes and Malcolm Brogdon played 41 minutes. I’m not completely sure what the point of having GP2 start if he is barely going to play; It would make sense to give those five minutes to either DeAndre Liggins or, based on his performance last game against Detroit, Rashad Vaughn. If Kidd wants to keep his bench unit of Liggins or Brogdon that’s one thing, but it would be best to see what Sterling Brown could do instead. His post game press conference really didn’t help him either.
  • For the second straight game, Thon Maker was the center to close out the game. Matchup wise it made more sense with Dirk Nowitzki on the floor. Thon had his best performance of the season. While he didn’t fill the stat sheet, he was going after loose balls and in the fourth quarter was in the right spot grabbing rebounds. His strong fourth quarter was capped with a block on Yogi Ferrell to cement the Bucks victory. Maybe he listened to today’s Locked On Bucks, but the hope is this is a turning point for Thon’s season.
  • While Giannis was doing everything he could in the first three quarters to keep the Bucks in this game, nobody else seemed to be at his level. Middleton and Bledsoe were not shooting the ball well for the majority of the game, but when the fourth quarter came that changed. Middleton had scored 15 points in the fourth quarter while Bledsoe scored 12 points to combine for 27 of the teams 32 fourth quarter points. Each player seemed to hit big threes including the And-1 from Khris that had put Milwaukee up 103-98. EKG/KGB/KEG/BAM (however you want to call them) each had their moments and with Bledsoe and Middleton, it’s good to have someone step up to help Giannis out. Milwaukee had the three best players on the court, and that was the difference for them to win tonight.

Bucks Bits

  • Last game, Dallas had shot 38 three pointers. Tonight they only launched 24,which was a welcomed improvement.
  • Giannis played 43 minutes, which is not what you want for the beginning of a back-to-back. We will have to see how his minutes are handled tomorrow night.
  • After the “interesting” answer about fouling up four against Detroit, Kidd once again had a head-scratching post game presser.
  • Somehow, Giannis was the fans’ 5th selection for the Bucks 50th Anniversary team of PFs along with Marques Johnson, Vin Baker, Toni Kukoc and Ersan Ilyasova. This both does and doesn’t make sense at the same time.
  • After another game in the classic jerseys, consider me a big fan of them.