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Milwaukee vs. Denver: Bucks Topple Nuggets, 104-98

Milwaukee is now 8-1 at Fiserv Forum

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In a see-saw of a game, the Milwaukee Bucks would prevail over the Western Conference Denver Nuggets, earning the sweep on them by a score of 104-98.

At the end of one, Denver would own a four point lead over Milwaukee at 29-25. I don’t know the exact number, but they hit A LOT of floaters. Like, a lot. It never seemed to end. The sluggish play would continue into the second quarter, with the Bucks looking like a mess all 24 minutes of the opening half. Rock bottom of the first half came when Ersan blundered a wide-open layup.

Considering how disastrous things were at times in the opening period, it was a bit of a miracle that Milwaukee found themselves down only by 10 at the half. Like on Friday evening against the Bulls, the Bucks would turn on the jets after intermission. Large halves from Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe would help Milwaukee ignite their comeback, then complete it in the fourth. It was quite magnificent to watch.

Antetokounmpo would end up leading the Bucks in points scored, tallying 29 when it was all said and done. He’d also post 12 boards and a quiet but effective six assists. Eric Bledsoe would finish with 23 of his own. On an off-night from the floor (4-of-15 including 1-of-8 from deep), Khris Middleton would score 13 points.

Nikola Jokic would be the highest scoring Nugget on the night, posting 20 points. Jamal Murray was a tier below with 17 of his own, and Gary Harris finished with 14.

Three Observations

The Bledshow has been in full effect lately.

I like this version of Eric Bledsoe. Actually, I REALLY like this version of Eric Bledsoe. His clutch play has been off the charts recently, going back to the Portland game. It all goes back to Budenholzer. The players give him the credit time and time again. The confidence he gives off, the vibes that float around the locker room — it’s all healthy. No toxicity, no second-guessing, no negativity. We saw how an incompetent coaching staff impacted Bledsoe last year and it’s night and day compared to this year. That massive three that he connected late in the fourth was just as loud as I’ve ever heard Fiserv Forum in its short history.

Milwaukee did a terrific job containing Nikola Jokic.

Ah, Nikola Jokic. A man who has terrorized the Bucks. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case last night. In fact, the Bucks did a spectacular job holding the Serbian to limited damage. Remember last year when he got the fastest triple-double in NBA history on Denver’s sole visit to Milwaukee? He still hit the Bucks with 20 points, but looking at the boards, that was where the Bucks’ bigs really came up big. Holding Jokic to just five rebounds (one of which came in garbage time) is never a simple task and definitely shouldn’t go unnoticed.

The Bucks are reallyyyyyyy good at Fiserv Forum.

Milwaukee is now 8-1 in Fiserv Forum, which really seems to be developing into a home-court advantage. That’s what the Bucks were hoping would be the case with a smaller-sized arena bowl and better acoustics. It’ll really be tested tomorrow night against Portland and on Saturday against the Spurs.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Okay, here’s my take on the City uniforms. The colors were great. Spectacular, even. They really did pop in person and on the in-game arena graphics. However, I think they should’ve gone with the one I have embedded below. It shows the entirety of the court, rather than a sliver of it. I’ll be honest with you — it took me a little bit to realize that the ones they were wearing was a tip of the cap to the actual lower left part of the court. Now, let’s be honest — how many regular NBA fans are going to notice that without the announcers telling them? Plus, the usage of neon green gave me a bad taste.
  • It wasn’t the best game for Malcolm Brogdon. Unfortunately, it seems that’s somewhat becoming a common theme this year. He finished with 13 points on the evening, but it was another game where he seemed to be sleepwalking. He’d end up converting on 5-of-11 of his field goals from the floor, resulting in a neutral 0 RPM. He just doesn’t seem to be gelling properly with the rest of the team. Is it time to reward Pat Connaughton with a start?
  • Giannis Mean Mug = BACK. I believe I saw it twice, with one coming on this:

Pure, vicious magic. Embedding just another dunk wouldn’t do his night justice, so I’ll just include the bulk of his highlights:

  • Granted, we all want to see the Bucks perform at the best of their abilities, but it really is rewarding to see them exert this resilience. I’ve said it before, but last year’s Bucks team would’ve crumbled under the same pressure and scenario. The Bud Effect is truly real and I’m quite encouraged/anxious to see how he implements his system vs. Portland and San Antonio.