This one wasn’t even close after the first 12 minutes, as the Milwaukee Bucks decimated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 125-95. Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo not managing to score a field goal in the first quarter, the Bucks were still able to take a 27-16 lead into the second. Giannis’ woes continued in the second in terms of shooting, but Khris Middleton and company picked up the slack as the Bucks dominated the Timberwolves, 63-38. In case you were curious, the third and fourth quarters went much the same as the first and second, as Milwaukee only built on their towering lead to head home with a comfortable win over the cross-state/conference brethren.
Grabbing control of the wheel
Getting used to Milwaukee’s offensive bursts remains a process for me. In tonight’s first period, the Bucks looked headed towards another inept start, similar to their cold spell from the floor against Philadelphia that gave way to a torrential downpour in the second. Much of their lack of offensive flow seemed due to sloppy play (5 turnovers in the first period) which led to some stilted isolation possessions. As the quarter proceeded though, Middleton knocked down a pull-up, and the Bucks were able to create open looks for both Henson and Ersan who nailed triples. An 11-0 spurt seemed to give the Bucks an impressive amount of control over the game’s flow, as the Timberwolves couldn’t nearly match up with the Bucks’ pace or level of shooting all night.
A light Giannis night doesn’t matter...
Credit a lot of this to Khris Middleton, who went off with some commanding 3-pointers and heady presence beneath the rim for passes, but even with only five points from Giannis in the first half, the Bucks still managed to take a 25-point lead into halftime. The democratic nature of Bud’s offense was on full display, particularly in the second quarter, when Milwaukee managed to take advantage of a lackadaisical Timberwolves defense to make the extra pass for open 3-pointers. If the Bucks are able to consistently put together insurmountable leads with contributions from their role players, this team is going to be freaky all year long.
Getting used to garbage time
We’ve talked plenty about adapting to this new normal for Milwaukee with their revamped offense, but getting a garbage time lineup for the entire fourth quarter was quite welcome. Not only does it provide a significant boon to managing the stars’ minutes loads for the season, but it should help inject a smidge of the developmental minutes that Bud has ceded to the Bucks new free agent additions this season. Seeing Sterling Brown get some run remains entertaining. Also, there was a perverse amount of pleasure to be taken from an impeccably botched alley-oop attempt between Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova, Aussie teammates. To their credit, they connected on an incredibly awkward one late though.
Bonus Bucks Bits
Are Timberwolves fans not allowed to cheer during pregame intros? It felt quieter than a KAT livestream after a Fortnite loss in there tonight.
Taj Gibson may have drawn a jump ball on Giannis early in the first quarter, but Giannis got him back several possessions later on the defensive end. He bodied Gibson up as he tried to post down low, only to block his first attempt easily, then Gibson looked like a kid three grades younger than Giannis trying to launch what turned into a lofty airball at the rim.
Not only does Giannis put up Wilt numbers, he plays D too— IKE Bucks (@IKE_Bucks) October 27, 2018
Kudos to Marques Johnson for mentioning that the jumbo lineup with Bledsoe-Middleton-Giannis-Ilyasova-Lopez gave up their first offensive rebound of the season tonight.
My Henson pass du jour isn’t on tape, but he slapped an offensive rebound back pretty feebly that Ersan somehow snagged to convert into a three.
As a Badger fan, I took an incredible amount of pleasure in Brogdon getting inside position against Tyus Jones in transition for an easy conversion off a nifty pass from Giannis. Boo Tyus Jones forever.
Watching one Minnesota possession end with Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague clumped in the restricted area as Taj Gibson efforted to get up a hook shot did not make me miss the cramped lane spacing of Bucks’ yesteryear.
You guessed it, John Henson now has 5x as many threes as Giannis does on the season after going 3-4. The fact he’s even hitting around 40% is remarkable considering his complete lack of experience from the area before this season. He’s now by far exceeded the number of threes, seven, he attempted all last year.
The boo birds came out by halftime for the Timberwolves. Brutal.
Brew Hoop brethren meeting in person melts my heart.
Both Thon Maker, albeit in garbage time, and Pat Connaughton got some extended run for the first time tonight. Kudos to Maker for still stepping up and hitting a corner three when it was asked of him too. That’s tough to do considering he’s been riding the pine all season thus far.
Uh, I heard Pat Connaughton had hops, but good lord he got high enough I wouldn’t be surprised if those tips came back frostier than before after this one.
Let it be known that Thon Maker did hit a shot beneath the basket amid some traffic.
A Bucks in Six chant broke out in the stadium late.