The 14th seeded Milwaukee Bucks opened tournament play against the 19th seeded Sacramento Kings who were without probable regular season starters De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. The Bucks’ trotted out a now healthy Gary Payton II, Rashad Vaughn, Sterling Brown, D.J. Wilson, and Tim Kempton to counter the neutered Kings lineup. Vaughn looked to continue his Vegas summer-like hot streak early on:
BROWN NO LOOK PASS TO SNEAKY RASHAD WHO IS RIGHT UNDER THE BASKET. FIRST BUCKET WOOT— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) July 13, 2017
Unfortunately the Bucks shot 5/23 in the first quarter and cashed in a total of 12 points. Kings’ big man, Skal Labissiere nearly outscored the Bucks by himself as he tallied 11 first quarter points. There was plenty of ball movement from the squad but there was even more more bricks coming off of Bucks’ hands. A rare capitalization on that ball movement was Wilson dishing a nice little pass through the trees to Kempton for an aesthetically pleasing layup. The first quarter was ugly all-around for both teams and the Kings held a 15-12 lead at the break.
The second quarter did not get any better for the Bucks, however. One of the few highlights of the quarter was Sterling Brown knocking down the only two three-pointers the Bucks would connect on all half (they shot at an abysmal 2/12 clip from three). A failed nutmeg attempt by Vaughn provided some brief excitement but not for any of the right reasons. Despite a less than ideal half, the Bucks found themselves in a two possession game as the halftime buzzer sounded:
At the half, the Bucks trail the Kings, 28-24, in the first round of the summer league playoffs. Milwaukee shooting just 25.6%.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) July 13, 2017
The second half picked up right where the first half ended. The Kings slowly extended their lead, while the Bucks slowly extended their distance in attempted shots to made shots. While ESPN was interviewing Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Lonzo Ball, D.J. Wilson gave us an, “And-one!” shout after he flushed home an alley-oop; the rook is learning folks. As the third quarter was drawing to an end, Vaughn and Reggie Upshaw Jr. drew back-to-back and-ones to give the Bucks the lead(!) heading into the fourth quarter on the back of 15-6 run.
The fourth quarter began with Bucks President, Peter Feigin, talking about the progress and future of the WESC and the development plans from the 30-acre construction site:
Feigin talking about the new arena and practice facility! Says they are basically "building a neighborhood"— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) July 13, 2017
The on-court action during the interview saw the Bucks maintain their lead via a nice transition basket from Wilson that was the end result of active hands on defense. The Summer Bucks grew their lead as the game drew closer to its conclusion. GPII hit a corner three to increase the lead to six, but the Kings would chip away and eventually retake the lead on an emphatic Georgios Papagiannis put back slam. With less than 1:30 remaining, Vaughn hit a deep three as the shot clock hit zero to give the Bucks a late lead. After some Sacramento free throws and a wild layup attempt from Vaughn, Justin Jackson hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining. That turned out to be the difference. The Bucks turned the ball over on the next possession and were forced to foul the rest of the way. The Kings closed out the contest with a 69-65 victory; Milwaukee will conclude their Las Vegas season on Friday in a consolation game.