The first quarter wasn’t as peachy. An off-tempo Milwaukee team shot 1-of-14 from three, barely holding on to a 23 to 22 lead after one period. They took a commanding lead in the second- and third-quarters despite unending stoppages of play from the refs. Credit Minnesota, though, who engineered a slight comeback that cut their deficit to 11 points. Milwaukee held on after that stint courtesy of an electrifying — yes, electrifying — outing from Robin Lopez.
Giannis often stopped short of ruthlessly pursuing the rim today, pinging overhead passes to shooters and greasing the wheels of Milwaukee’s drive and kick offense instead. Just as refreshing was his jumper, which he connected from a few different spots on the floor. Late in the second he connected on a midrange jumper, then early in the third-quarter he knocked down a catch-and-shoot three in rhythm. Disregarding an epic pull-up airball and his night was a successful one from deep.
Statistically, Giannis finished making his mark specifically as a rebounder, hauling in 14 boards to pair with 26 points and 3 blocks.
Khris Middleton posted another effective night with 18 points. Ersan Ilyasova and Kyle Korver are staking their claims as the dead-eye, veteran marksmen on the squad, as they finished the night combined for 4 of 7 from deep. A lively, hyper-active version of Robin Lopez willed energy spurts and performed Lance Stephenson-esque three-point celebrations. He finished with a team-high in plus/minus at +26 and displayed finesse and shake as a post-scorer. D.J. Wilson also made his first appearance with 10 minutes and a few buckets off the bench.
Karl-Anthony Towns put up fight on both ends despite the lopsided outcome, finishing with 16 points, four rebounds and a few blocks and swipes at the ball on defense. Off the bench, Shabazz Napier chipped in an impressive 14 points.
Stats That Stood Out
Milwaukee finished the first quarter 1/14 from three point range though finishing the first-half connecting on 69 percent of their shots inside the field. Takeaway: Although 3-point shooting is vital to Milwaukee’s offense, fretting about shooting woes would be to forget that Milwaukee has maybe an equally effective force inside the paint. They finished with a dominating 54-24 advantage down there.
Milwaukee also dwarfed a Minnesota rebounding unit with 14 more total rebounds.