Two days after falling short in Canada against the Toronto Raptors, the Milwaukee Bucks were looking to starting the 2018 home schedule on a high note against the Indiana Pacers.
Milwaukee started off the game strong getting themselves to a double digit lead early, and trying their best to keep it that way. Hot shooting from Khris Middleton was a main driver of that, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo being the best player on the court by some margin yet again.
Can't. Stop. GIANNIS!! pic.twitter.com/6J3f4gPq7f— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 4, 2018
Milwaukee was looking to keep their distance against the Pacers with some more turnovers and drawing fouls off the ball, but Indiana kept producing small runs. The Bucks were able to get a 62-52 lead at halftime. Giannis went into halftime with 21 points and also a highlight worthy block.
The Greek Freak with the SWAT!! pic.twitter.com/Ew5si7BYiO— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 4, 2018
The second half brought more of Milwaukee having their way in the paint while frustrating Indiana and starting to pull away in the mid third quarter. Precise 3-point shooting from Matthew Dellavedova, Thon Maker and Middleton carried Milwaukee through the fourth quarter. In the end, Milwaukee was able to finish with a 122-101 victory. A much-needed victory considering their opponent was without their best player all evening.
Giannis led all scorers with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists while thankfully only playing 29 minutes and not appearing at all in the fourth. Khris Middleton was able to contribute 27 points while Eric Bledsoe quietly had seven points, shooting 3-4 from the field. Thon Maker had a second consecutive strong offensive showing tonight, going for 12 points on 5-10 from the field.
In the absence of their best player Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 24 points, doing most of his damage in the pick and roll and inside. Darren Collison and Lance Stephenson chipped in with 17 and 15 points respectively.
Stat that Stood Out
Milwaukee had played in ten consecutive games that were decided by ten points or less. This was tied for the longest streak and first time in 17 years. Thankfully this streak ended tonight. As Frank and Eric discussed on today’s Locked on Bucks, it would be nice to see the Bucks blow out a team and it finally happened.