A convincing win against a quality opponent you say? You betcha with the Bucks 118-101 dismantling of the visiting Indiana Pacers. This was quite the way to kick off Milwaukee’s inaugural season in the state of the art Fiserv Forum. Here are three Bucks who stood out in their victory which moved them to 2-0 to open the season.
“Bledsoe cause I said so.”
Milwaukee’s starting point guard, Eric Bledsoe has gotten off to a very efficient start offensively in his first season under head coach Mike Budenholzer.
In only 26 minutes of play against the Pacers, Bledsoe finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks with zero turnovers. He also finished plus-17. The big takeaway here with Bledsoe is the 7 assists with 0 turnovers, and hitting 2-5 three-pointers. For the season, he’s hit 5-10 shots from deep. His improved stroke from three is a critical development towards the success of the Milwaukee Bucks this season.
He also did a fine job on burgeoning star Victor Oladipo. Although Dipo finished with 25 points, most of those came when the game was already decided. This is a tough matchup for any opposing point guard, and Oladipo finished with more turnovers than assists and ended minus-24. Kudos to Eric Bledsoe for getting it done on both ends of the floor.
Can’t stop Giannis!
Giannis Antetokounmpo was a force against the Pacers, finishing with 26 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and one block in 32 minutes. Naturally, he scored the Bucks first-ever bucket in the Fiserv Forum. It really is impossible to describe how special of a talent Giannis is, and his prowess was on full display against Indiana.
Can your superstar glide through the air like that? Probably not.
Although the Indiana Pacers raced out to a 10-2 lead early in the game, the Greek Freak went into attack mode and feasted in the paint. The Pacers, who have typically done a solid job defending Antetokounmpo in the past, had absolutely no answers tonight. Although he shot 0-7 from deep on Friday night, it was still encouraging to see him hoist it up in rhythm and not hesitate. The mechanics on his jump shot are definitely looking a lot cleaner this season.
One negative from his performance was the 6 turnovers he committed. Giannis has already turned the ball over 14 times in just two games. I’m sure the turnover numbers will stabilize as the season marches on.
Khris Middleton, smooth as butter.
Middleton continues his solid start to the 2018-2019 campaign with 23 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists while shooting 7-15 from the floor and 5-9 from deep. After a somewhat sluggish first half, Khris Middleton came alive in the third quarter. He played a big part in Milwaukee building a substantial lead to put the game out of reach early in the second half. The advanced stat darling also finished a team-high plus-24.
His offensive game will continue to grow under the direction of head coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff. What’s most notable about Middleton’s start to the season is that he’s already hoisted up 15 shots from three and has converted on 8 of those tries. Often times last season, he had a tendency to get iso happy and force up a fadeaway midrange jumper. However, Middleton has let the game come to him so far, and it is paying huge dividends. His scoring *might* go down a bit this season, but his efficiency could be through the roof.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- For the first time in franchise history, the Milwaukee Bucks shot more three-pointers than two’s. Yes, you read that right. The Bucks attempted 47 shots from deep while shooting 46 from inside the arch. They shot 47.3% from the field, and 36.2% from three. Their shot chart was Picasso-esq.
Adios, midrange jumpers.
- John H3nson? Apparently, this will be a thing this season. Henson hit 2-3 shots from deep while finishing with 10 points and 9 rebounds in 22 minutes. Of course, he shot better from three than he did at the FT line (2-4).
Is this real life?
- Malcolm Brogdon continued his consistent start to the season with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists in 27 minutes. After he led the Bucks in minutes played in their season opener, it was nice to see the President get to rest most of the second half. Mike Budenholzer has already shown that he has a lot of trust in Brogdon, and he has answered the call. Nothing but respect for MY President.
- Tony Snell did some things! He finished with 10 points on 4-7 shooting and even knocked down a pair of threes in 18 minutes. Taking on a smaller role this season, perhaps it will take some pressure off of Snell after a rough season last year.
- Although he only finished 8 points in 22 minutes, Brook Lopez has made a big difference offensively for the Milwaukee Bucks. Even after going 2-8 from deep against the Pacers, he looks very confident shooting the ball and having him out on the floor has opened up a lot of space for the Bucks to move offensively. Lopez finished plus-18, and his contract is looking like highway robbery for the Bucks.