Spoiler alert! Nobody was able to watch this game. Not me, not you, and not anybody else who wasn’t inside the 14,000 seat Hilton Coliseum. Thankfully, it’s a preseason game, so we won’t have to subject ourselves to our own imaginations when the contests start to count for real.
Here are the facts: the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, and no Milwaukee player suffered any injuries. A few guys (Thon Maker, Ersan Ilyasova, Matthew Dellavedova, D.J. Wilson, and Trevon Duval) didn’t suit up as a precaution, but that’s precisely what coaches ought to do when the stakes don’t exist. Beyond that, all we have are a handful of eyewitness reports and the numbers. For a preseason game, that’s all you need.
There are a myriad of reasons why Bucks fans are excited about Mike Budenholzer taking over for Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty, but chief among them is the embrace of the long ball. The NBA used to be built on mid-range jumpers, but bricks from that era laid the foundation of the games’ elevation over the past 15 years. The Kidd Era Bucks fought against the current, while Bud’s Bucks is racing to stay ahead of it.
If nothing else, this preseason game mattered to fans who wanted to be certain that the inaugural three-point bombing of the Chicago Bulls wasn’t just a fluke. In 3PA/game over the past four years, the Bucks have ranked 26th (18.3 in 2014-15), 30th (15.6 in 2015-16), 24th (23.7 in 2016-17), and 25th (24.7 in 2017-18), and one game isn’t enough to prove that the habits are changed. Two games, to be clear, shouldn’t be enough either, but from what we’re seeing from historic non-shooters...
Giannis with a pull-up 3. Smooth, confident, nothing but net. He's got 21 points in 26 minutes.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) October 8, 2018
John Henson just swished a 3. There's no video, but I swear it happened.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) October 8, 2018
The Bucks are not just talking the talk when it comes to shooting threes, but they’re walking the walk. With 36 tonight and 41 against Chicago previously, the Bucks have a 0.397 3PAr, a full ten percentage points higher than their mark last season. Not only that, but the share of the three-point pie is growing larger: everybody gets a seat at the table. In tonight’s game, 13 players took the court, and only one (Tyler Zeller) did not attempt a three. Against Chicago, 16 saw playing time and again, only one (Shabazz Muhammad) ended the game without an attempt. Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking (and making) pull-up threes. John Henson is taking (and making!) corner threes. Everybody is shooting from deep this year, and something tells me that this is just the new normal.
Presenting, without further comment, the online back-and-forth between longtime play-by-play announcer Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) and the newly-arrived sideline reporter Katie George (@Katie_George05):
@Paschketball was too tired to call the game tonight.— Katie George (@Katie_George05) October 8, 2018
So not true! Starting to tire of Katie actually! https://t.co/lLEeaFTdC6— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) October 8, 2018
Firing shots after being severely wounded. https://t.co/uATSLi7N2i— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) October 8, 2018
While I’m over here just picking up the pieces. The pieces of my broken heart https://t.co/e42oYYstmI— Katie George (@Katie_George05) October 8, 2018
I have to white flag this frivolity. Katie has to come up with two post-game questions (and my phone power is exhausted) https://t.co/SvHoGmLjlA— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) October 8, 2018
Oh, how convenient Jimmy Boy. You can borrow my phone charger if you’d like. https://t.co/AZPYBvNBQG— Katie George (@Katie_George05) October 8, 2018
If you’re wondering if there was collateral damage, let me assure you that there was indeed an innocent bystander who got caught in the crossfire:
Who you betting on?— Katie George (@Katie_George05) October 8, 2018
Smart guy.— Katie George (@Katie_George05) October 8, 2018
This was the highlight of the game, folks. It was glorious, and it wasn’t confined to regulation either!