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Milwaukee vs. Atlanta: Bucks Escape With Win, 122-117

Milwaukee gets well-needed win against the bottom feeder Hawks

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In a culmination of St. Patrick’s Day and 90s Night, the Milwaukee Bucks staved off the feisty Atlanta Hawks by a score of 122-117.

If you thought the Bucks were going to come out strong after the thrashing Orlando provided last time out, think again. Things started off south, but the Bucks were able to close out strong and slice the deficit to 31-26 after the first quarter. Still disappointing considering Giannis posted 12 points (which included 2-of-3 from deep).

Things would start trending in the green for the Bucks in the second quarter, where they began to find their footing. They would outscore the Hawks 30-19 in the period, thanks in large part to the nine turnovers they caused Atlanta to cough up. At the end of the first half, Milwaukee held onto a 56-50 advantage.

After a nostalgic halftime performance by Bell Biv DeVoe, it’d be a rollercoaster of a third quarter for the Bucks. They’d have their lead taken away right out of the gates, but did a magnificent job of bouncing back. Milwaukee would boast their largest lead of the night up to that point when the horn sounded, leading Atlanta 95-87.

It’d be a back-and-fort effort in the final period, with both teams clawing at one another. Atlanta would eventually be the last ones to falter, and thank goodness. Bucks Twitter would’ve been unbearable had Milwaukee lost two consecutive games to the cellar dwellers of the Hawks and Magic. The final score ended up being 122-117 in Milwaukee’s advantage.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a team high 33 points for Milwaukee. Despite an off night towards the beginning of the game, Khris Middleton rattled home 23 points. For Atlanta, Taurean Prince led the way with a game high 38 points.

Three Observations

This team is still very frustrating to watch.

I mean, this was the Atlanta Hawks. This was a home game. The Hawks are 20-50. This should’ve been a blowout. The Bucks really need to set the compass trending north soon, because I really don’t want to see a quick exit from the playoffs — and that’s what will happen if these performances keep on occurring. Regardless of what happens, it’s clear the Bucks will need a new system after this season concludes. As for who that coach will be remains uncertain. We had the honeymoon phase with Joe Prunty and it was fun while it lasted, but this team needs a new identity.

The starters faltered again, despite being recently called out.

After Jason Terry called out the Bucks starters at a recent shootaround, pressure was definitely on the front line before today’s matinee tipped off. The first line faltered in the first half and looked lifeless at multiple times (well, besides Giannis). It would continue in the second half with the Bucks nearly immediately squandering their halftime lead. Definitely frustrating to see this emerging pattern gain traction. What JET said is simple, yet it really works. They really do set the tone out there. Strong starts garner strong results and they’ll definitely need a strong start Monday night out in Cleveland.

As always, 90s Night was awesome.

This stuff typically doesn’t get put under the observations, but I’m going to today — it warrants it. The Bucks marketing staff put on a wonderful show as always, especially with the incredible 90s videos of the deer running into the arena — a flashback to the Light It Up Bucks team. It’ll always be difficult for them to top when Kel Mitchell was here, but they did a great job. You know what, let’s have some fun with this. Leave your power rankings of 90s cartoon shows in the comments. I’ll start — 1) Rocket Power, 2) Hey Arnold, 3) Rugrats.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • At times, it seemed as if the Hawks would just toy with the Bucks’ defense. A large part of it had to do with this lineup consisting of Brandon Jennings, Jabari Parker, and Thon Maker out on the court together.

I’m sure Dean will tweet a thread after the game or tomorrow sometime that breaks things down in much more detail than I could, but yeah — it was ugly.

  • Yes, this game was 90s Night at the Bradley Center. No, the Bucks didn’t where their purple throwbacks. Here’s Bucks CMO Dustin Godsey on the matter:

What’s the reason for the Bucks not being able to where them? I’ll turn to Matt Velazquez for that one:

Disappointing? Of course. Come on, NBA. Team throwbacks should be a freebie!

  • Late in the second quarter, Milwaukee began to utilize the pick-and-roll featuring Giannis and Bledsoe. The confusion it caused for Atlanta proved to be quite beneficial for the Bucks, helping Milwaukee regain the lead. Let’s hope that works just as well as it did last night in future appearances.
  • Bell Biv DeVoe was the halftime entertainment since it was 90s Night, therefore I’m obligated to share the video of Turk dancing to “Poison” in one of the greatest scenes ever from Scrubs. Enjoy.
  • Eric Bledsoe was a delight to watch many times tonight, especially in his aggression of running to the rim. I lost count at how many times he barreled down and into the paint on fast breaks, but the rate at which he was gravitating contact and creating positive plays was at a pretty consistent rate. (NOTE: This was typed in the first half. Bledsoe just committed two turnovers in a row ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
  • JABARI MEAN MUG. Yes, that really’s video evidence:

My oh my. The audacity. It’s a bit frustrating that his reaction warranted a technical though. Let ‘em play with some emotion, ref!