There’s something extra sweet about beating the Chicago Bulls 124-115 when the Milwaukee Bucks don’t even scratch 20% from deep while Boylan’s Boot Camp Squad can’t miss the whole night. The first half ended with both teams nearly knotted up, as the Bulls carried a 66-65 advantage thanks largely to an 11-24 (47.8%) from deep. In the third, Chicago didn’t cool off much, but Milwaukee took advantage of transition opportunities to pummel the Bulls inside and take a 97-86 lead into the fourth. The Bulls made it tight with some tough shotmaking, but Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe proved too much in the end.
Shouldn’t Have Said Anything...
Jim Boylen was heard audbily pleading to the refs to, “Let Them Play,” multiple times in the third quarter. At that point, the Bulls were clinging to a slight lead behind their prolific 3-point shooting. Shortly afterward, Giannis Antetokounmpo destroyed the rim on a feed from Eric Bledsoe to make it 77-74. He then proceeded to go on a scoring spree entirely at the rim, notching 6 of the next 7. He had 10 points in less than half the period before exiting until the fourth when he was able to finish out Chicago. Here’s one of those sequences:
Bucks' last three possessions have all ended with Giannis finishing at the rim. You can't guard this... pic.twitter.com/Qi4wq69gUB— Bucks Film Room (@BucksFilmRoom) November 15, 2019
Replacing K-Midd by Committee
It was a group effort by a number of the guard rotation to try and replace Khris Middleton’s scoring effort for this Milwaukee Bucks team. Donte DiVincenzo got the start in his stead, but ended with only four points on the evening. Wesley Matthews stepped up with 15, his best scoring effort of the season, with six apiece added by Kyle Korver and Pat Connaughton. George Hill was quiet, but Eric Bledsoe double-teamed the scoring effort with Giannis to pick up the most slack. I doubt that will be the proper answer for the entirety of Middleton’s absence though, but I also wouldn’t expect any of the above mentioned to entrench themselves as the “replacement” for Middleton. Look for Sterling to potentially get some more run (0-5 but 9 boards and finished +10) if Donte’s errors on the evening have irked Bud too strongly.
An Inside Job
Yes, despite the decrease in shots at the rim to start the season for Milwaukee, they’ve still been able to get through their early slate of games with a fine record and even finer offensive rating. Against the Bulls though, they bucked that trend back to where they were last year, able to succeed even when their 3-point stroke is abhorrent (18.2#. They well outstripped Chicago in the paint for this game (70-32) and that also meant they found their way to the free throw stroke significantly more, with 47 attempts to Chicago’s 25. If the Bucks are going to remind us of last season’s dominant team throughout the year, seeing a massive victory in the paint will do well to get us there.
Bonus Bucks Bits
Donte DiVincenzo was tabbed to replace Khris Middleton in the starting lineup to begin the night. Overall, he had a rather rough night, with some boneheaded turnovers and fouls, finishing with only four points.
For those looking for ammunition and evidence of Donte Doing Stuff, here’s tonight’s entry with a delightful dish for a rim-decimating dunk.
Hammer time!! #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/t9TmtbRNQU— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 15, 2019
The Bucks had some excellent lockdown possessions on Coby White after White’s electric shooting first half. Sterling Brown’s highlight may’ve come in the third as White tried to bludgeon his way to the rim, only to get stonewalled by Brown and trying to flop before refs correctly called him for a travel.
Three huge passes for Connaughton in the third quarter. The first won’t be remembered by the stat sheets, as he pump-faked and drove to the rim and rifled an appropriately baseball-like pitch to the corner that started a sequence that ultimately ended with a Hill travel. Connaughton kept his wits about him though and dished to a rolling Brook Lopez on the next possession, before running the break and tossing to Bledsoe for an easy transition finish. Connaughton has his defensive issues and loses playing time to the young shooting guard wings, but he typically brings several plays just like this each game that can provide a jolt. He’s shown some decent passing chops this year.
Is Donte DiVincenzo the spiritual successor to All-Time Bucks volleyball blocker Miles Plumlee?
Giannis became the first Milwaukee Buck since Marques Johnson to notch six consecutive games of 30 or more points. We’ll see whether he can eclipse Marques on Saturday against the Pacers. It was also very nice to see him sink a jabstep jumper in the fourth from the free throw line.
Eric Bledsoe had 20+ points for the fifth straight game. He seems to be shaking off some of the rust from his preseason injury. He nailed some impressive late game shots too to salt away this victory.
Milwaukee’s 47 free throw attempts in this game is more than they attempted in any game last year, when their high was 43.