The Milwaukee Bucks toppled a new-look Utah Jazz team, 133-99. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and the bulk of Monday’s inactives debuted tonight, needing only scattered minutes to reaffirm their place atop the East.
Despite their third-stringers rotating in for the majority of the second half, Milwaukee never wavered in their scoring onslaught. The first-quarter saw Giannis diving for loose balls and obliterating rims. Just another day in the office for the league MVP. Milwaukee jumped out to a 34-23 lead after the first buzzer, as Utah looked like a defeated, uninspired unit from the get-go. The Jazz would put on a clean pair of shorts in the second, outplaying Milwaukee’s assortment of bench pieces that rotated in throughout the quarter. From there, Milwaukee assumed their spot in the drivers seat, their lead climbing to over 30 points late in the third quarter and into the fourth.
Giannis shifted into yet another gear tonight, attacking the opening quarter as if it was a game seven in the playoffs. Through the first seven minutes, he racked up 11 points and 6 rebounds. As one of our Brew Hoop staff so perfectly pointed out, he was on track for 44 points and 24 rebounds (he finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, not the same numbers, but we’ll call it close enough).
Wesley Matthews started as the second guard in the backcourt, a move that looks to be the status quo going forward. Brook Lopez looked, for the second consecutive year, like a rejuvenated player. His mid-range jumper, often times attempted through egregious fouls, presented itself early on as he attempted a more mobile approach to offense inside the arc. Donte DiVincenzo broke loose from Monday’s slump, racking up 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Eric Bledsoe suffered an oblique strain after leaving the game in the first half. The timetable for his recovery is still up in the air.
In other news, a hyped-up Jazz team looked amazingly flat. Granted, they were without Rudy Gobert, but Donovan Mitchell scored just 14 points, while Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic combined to shoot 0-14 from the field.
Stats That Stood Out:
Milwaukee’s length and size is one of a few dozen calling cards. The Jazz couldn’t operate among the trees, shooting an abysmal 37.2 percent from the field and 20.7 percent from beyond the arc.
It’s the preseason, so it’s appropriate that Milwaukee’s rotation ran 17-deep. Still, with 16 Bucks in the scoring column (Luke Maye finished scoreless), there’s some peace of mind knowing that Coach Budenholzer can look left to a surplus of bench pieces at his disposal.