On a snowy and sleet-filled night in downtown Milwaukee, the Bucks were able to snag a well-needed victory over the visiting Boston Celtics, 106-102.
Some sloppy shooting combined with a brief slew of turnovers put Boston ahead after one, 31-26. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton would expand their games in the second quarter, despite some visible moments of frustration. When halftime rolled around, Milwaukee held a 58-56 advantage.
Usually, we see the Bucks crumble in the third quarters. Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time around. Instead, hey! They expanded their lead, finishing the quarter up 79-71. And guess what? The guys kept building on their lead, and though there were a few hiccups along the way, the Bucks were able to pull away and get the well-needed win, 106-102.
As is the case pretty much every game, Giannis Antetokounmpo shined the light for the Bucks, finishing with a game-high 29 points. Khris Middleton produced 20 points, and Eric Bledsoe contributed with 18 of his own.
For Boston, Jaylen Brown was the lead man with 24 points. Rookie Jayson Tatum put forth a strong effort with 20 points of his own.
Down the stretch, any win is huge.
I don’t care if it’s against a team in the cellar of the standings. I don’t care if it’s against the Rockets. I don’t care if it’s against a depleted team like the Celtics. Every win is huge in a playoff push, and that’s just what was on the menu tonight for the Bucks. Considering how they didn’t get the winning record they hoped to on the road trip, it was an imperative that they come out on top tonight. Postgame, I asked Joe Prunty how they can use tonight as motivation to finishing the homestretch of the season strong. He mentioned how tonight was a culmination of all their efforts coming together to earn a W and how when that same mindset is applied in future games, success will be achieved. There’s still some jockeying that can be done in regards to playoff positioning in the East, and regardless of whether or not you’re a believer in momentum, a win is always appreciated.
Despite the win, there were still some moments of frustration.
Everybody wants to win. I’m not going to assume it was anything more than that, but still, these things are definitely worthwhile to point out. I’ll discuss two of them. First, there was this sequence following a turnover from Giannis:
Another Giannis turnover. This time, he threw behind Parker who was cutting to the rim. Parker just looked skyward after the ball sailed out of bounds before saying what looked like, "Come on, man."— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) April 4, 2018
Turnovers are never good, and it’s understandable to get upset after them. Later on, there was a time where Giannis was yelling at John Henson to directly in-bound him the basketball. Instead, it went to Bledsoe. It made its way to Giannis soon after, but still — that type of frustration isn’t fun to see. Again, I’m sure it’s just everybody’s will to win — hopefully it’s not anything more. Hey, maybe the Bucks can bring in Craig Counsell for a leadership workshop sometime. The chemistry that the Brewers have is off the charts.
That Giannis chasedown block!
I mean, just wow. There’s not a better way to describe that play without using certain words that would get me in trouble if I published. If you haven’t seen the play yet, here you go:
Giannis with the clutch chasedown block on Jaylen Brown pic.twitter.com/MDhGWE0IfL— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 4, 2018
First, my goodness. Giannis never ceases to amaze. Second, it’s frustrating that the ref’s immediate reaction is to call a goaltend. That always seems to be the case on these sorts of plays with Giannis. He may be getting more calls from the zebras in other areas of the court, but this is one play where they haven’t been as consistent with him. Thankfully, they were able to get it right after review — but there shouldn’t have been a review in the first place. In the locker room following the game, everybody involved in that play — Giannis, Middleton, and Henson — mentioned how Giannis was yelling to Middleton, “DON’T FOUL, DON’T FOUL, DON’T FOUL!” It thankfully worked out in the end.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Sure, the Bucks may not reach the 50 win plateau that many pinned as expectations at the beginning of the year. But last night’s win marked at least a winning record. There’s still four games left, so if everything goes swimmingly, they’ll finish the year at 46-42 (but don’t bank on it). However, it’s nice to know that they aren’t regressing in the win column -- which, let’s be honest -- at some points this season, seemed to be a given.
- Following consecutive games of 30+ points, Eric Bledsoe notched another solid night out on the hardwood with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting. It’s warming to see him stay productive through the end of the season, as if the Bucks are going to want to wreak havoc in the postseason, Bledsoe will more than likely serve as an X-factor.
- It was another mediocre night for Sterling Brown. In recent games, he’s failed to receive many minutes and unfortunately, when he does receive minutes, he isn’t utilizing the most of them. He was unable to get on the score sheet last night, finishing with a goose egg of zero points. He did get five fouls in 15 minutes, though. Similar to Bledsoe, Brown will likely be an X-factor in whomever Milwaukee winds up facing in the postseason. Hopefully he’ll be able to string together a few strong games to close out the regular season.
- Shout out to the fan who hit the $5,000 half court shot! It was the first one of the year. It’s always nice seeing fans’ confidence pay off.
- In his pre-game press conference, Joe Prunty mentioned how the team can learn from the utterly demoralizing loss that occurred the other night in Denver. Down the stretch in this one, there were a few situations that resembled those sideline fiascos. Thankfully, the Bucks were able to pull out the win without any unnecessary noise. No, seriously, thank goodness. I think #BucksTwitter would’ve broken Twitter.