The Milwaukee Bucks got a victory today against the Brooklyn Nets 109-94, but most importantly it appears the health of their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is okay after a brief scare where he left the court. As for the game, the Bucks got out to an early 36-22 advantage after one quarter, pummeling the Nets beneath the basket and getting to the free throw line 11 times in the period. Heading into halftime, the Bucks didn’t let the thrashing stop as Thon Maker alley-ooped his way to eight points and Milwaukee built a 62-41 lead. Their 54.8% shooting percentage stood in sharp contrast to the brick-laden 37.0% Brooklyn posted. In the third, a 24-point lead for Milwaukee started to evaporate as the Nets finally started hitting shots, making it just an 11-point game heading into the final quarter. The Bucks got a scare in the fourth quarter when Giannis left the game with an ankle injury, but thankfully he seemed to be able to walk around under his own power while the on-court Bucks took care of business.
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
Three Main Observations
Giannis went to the ground in the fourth quarter while coming around a screen on defense. It wasn’t clear exactly whether it was his knee or ankle that seemed to be in pain, but he laid on the ground for some time before getting up and walking off the court under his own power. He took off his shoe and the trainers looked at his ankle, but it was his right ankle they were examining rather than the left one that he rolled last week against the Timberwolves. Later he was able to put the shoe back on and pace on the sidelines. Every Bucks fan knows the horrendous implications any sort of prolonged absence by Giannis would mean for this team, who are outrageously reliant on their superstar’s talent to elevate them. As illustrated above, the initial signs are good. Matthew Dellavedova also didn’t return to the game after going out with an ankle issue.
Terrifying moment in the 4th quarter when Giannis went down in a lot of pain.— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) February 4, 2018
He was able to walk off the court on his own, and he did not go to the locker room. He got his ankle taped and was able to get up and move around.
Extreme sigh of relief. pic.twitter.com/dg7PH1k0cC
Jabari Parker had plenty of promising plays today, but his most impressive feat might’ve been successfully feeding Thon Maker for an alley-oop, whose life as a roll man this year has left a lot to be desired. His passing acumen around the basket also resulted in Henson heading to the free throw line earlier in the game. With all his scoring prowess, it’s easy to forget about his ability to see the floor too and feed teammates. Later on in the game he managed to penetrate the paint and generate a lot of attention from Nets defenders. While they were clumped around him, he coolly spotted Henson leaking in from the block and Bari found him for another oop that he slammed home.
Maker Skying High
Thon Maker showed signs of life today against the weak interior of Brooklyn. Not only was he able to slam home two different alley-oops, which is a feat in and of itself, but he looked confident taking shots whenever he had the ball. Part of that was likely going up against the defensive turnstile of Jahlil Okafor, but he also held his own in the paint defensively against after Enes Kanter dominated the glass on Friday night. Maker even managed to get in on the offensive glass, skying for a couple boards in the third and fourth quarter that extended possessions as he ended with six total.
Bonus Bucks Bits
Brooklyn was daring Eric Bledsoe to shoot early on in the game, sagging off a considerable amount on the perimeter. It paid off initially too, as Bledsoe started 1-5 from the field.
Giannis must’ve seen that Jabari oop and wanted a piece of the action, because he followed it up with this beaut to Thon.
Jabari getting the ball on the baseline for a potential jumper and then stepping back to ensure his feet were behind the 3-point line was a beautiful sight. It was also his first made 3-pointer since returning from injury.
Milwaukee relied relatively heavily on its own players creating their shots in the first half. With just 12 assists on 23 made buckets, it was a smidge below their season average of 58%. Bledose in particular was pretty trigger happy, posting 11 shot attempts in the first half including several ill-advised early shot clock attempts. It ultimately didn’t matter in the end, but their assist percentage ended at just 45.2%.
Giannis has absolutely no respect for Jarrett Allen. If you’ll recall, he slammed this dunk over Allen’s fro on January 26th right before halftime:
Today, he followed that up with an eerily similar destructive dunk.
Giannis demeaning Allen got even sillier too. Jarrett may legitimately need counseling after taking those two dunks on his dome and then having Giannis smack his dunk attempt straight out of the gym. This is just disrespectful man.
Giannis dominating the homie Jarrett. Wow. pic.twitter.com/2OGegbUV86— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) February 4, 2018
John Henson came up grabbing his right hamstring after a near dunk attempt in the third quarter, but thankfully re-entered the game in the fourth. He decimated Brooklyn on the glass all day though with 18 rebounds including seven offensive boards. That figure was the most in a game for Henson since he had 17 back in December 2013.
Matthew Dellavedova rolled his ankle pretty badly early in the fourth quarter. His absence, if for an extended period of time, would be quite unlucky for Milwaukee who recently just lost Malcolm Brogdon for 6-8 weeks. Fans could expect to get better acquainted with Xavier Munford who could see the court more if Delly misses more time.
Milwaukee relied far more on their midrange scoring today, posting a 14-2 advantage in that category at halftime. Brooklyn is a 3-point heavy team, ranking second to last in terms of percentage of points from the midrange, but Milwaukee also ranks just 11th in that category at 13.8%. As everyone knows those sorts of inefficient shots aren’t likely to allow Milwaukee to sustain the offensive production it showed today, as they ended with a 28-2 advantage from the midrange. They still posted an impressive 120.6 offensive rating on the day, but shouldn’t expect a reliance on those shots to continue translating to effective offense.
This is good.