The Milwaukee Bucks managed to pull off a matinee victory today 109-94 over the Brooklyn Nets, but the more important takeaway was the health of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury. His health is obviously far more important than the result of the game. This is a good sign though:
Bucks owner Marc Lasry is talking in front of me and said, "Giannis is fine." So that's good.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 4, 2018
Milwaukee staked a 36-22 lead against Brooklyn after one quarter, dominating them offensively at the rim against the Nets’ poor rim protection. That thorough beating continued into the second quarter with the Bucks opening a bloated 62-41 lead at halftime. Eric Bledsoe was the high man for Milwaukee with 14 points. Milwaukee expanded the lead early in the third quarter but Brooklyn managed to make it a game with a late push as Milwaukee led just 83-72 after three. Although Giannis left the game early in the fourth quarter, Eric Bledsoe picked up the scoring slack and pulled the Bucks to victory late in the fourth.
Sunday matinee games are always wonky ones, with the players thrown off their typical regimen. Between that and the fact the Bucks were in the city that never sleeps last night, any sort of victory was a welcome Sunday treat. The fact Milwaukee couldn’t put the Nets away and allow their starters to get more rest was frustrating, but the high-variance of Brooklyn’s 3-point chucking meant they were due to go on a run at some point.
Giannis Antetokounmpo took a passive approach to scoring in tonight’s game, but did have to leave the court in the fourth quarter with what seemed to be an issue with his right ankle. His 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists reflected an efficient day for him on 7-13 shooting, with Eric Bledsoe taking the brunt of the scoring duties particularly while Giannis was on the bench late.
Speaking of Bledsoe, he managed to end with 28 points and six assists for the day, tag-teaming with Khris Middleton (16 points) late to help pull this one out. In just his second game back, Jabari Parker poured in 11 points, two assists, one rebound, two blocks (!) and one steal in his 17 minutes on the day. As usual, it was delightful to have him back.
As for Brooklyn, Caris LaVert came in off the bench to score 15 points for the Nets while their rookie, Jarrett Allen, went for 14 points and seven rebounds. Demarre Carroll chimed in with 15 points too, going 3-5 from behind the arc.
Stat That Stood Out
This was aided significantly by Brooklyn’s horrific shooting performance on the day (41.1%), but the Bucks had a 54-36 advantage on the boards today. John Henson’s 18 boards were a significant part of that including 14 offensive rebounds for the day. Brooklyn’s poor interior allowed the typically rebound-challenged Bucks to feast today.