The Milwaukee Bucks did not play defense in the first few minutes of the first quarter versus the Orlando Magic on Friday night, but that quickly changed following a timeout an early from head coach Mike Budenholzer. I think they got the message.
The Bucks prevailed 123-91 over the Magic in the first leg of a back-to-back and held Orlando to only 14 points in the second quarter.
It was great to see Eric Bledsoe look like Eric Bledsoe again. He was aggressive attacking the basket and did a great job at creating open looks for his teammates throughout Friday’s win. He totaled 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists in 27 minutes. Bledsoe knocked down 8-of-15 shots from the floor and added two three-pointers to his ledger. While the two treys are nice, he fell in love with his jumper at times yesterday. However, it’s hard not to be encouraged by this outing. He finished plus-15. Welcome back, E-Bled.
Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated the game after halftime en route to 29 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and two steals in 30 minutes. He hasn’t hit his stride yet, which is crazy to think about because he is still dropping crooked stat lines like this. He converted on 10-of-16 shots and 8-of-11 attempts from the charity stripe. He let it fly a few times, but his jumper was broke against Orlando. Antetokounmpo did turn the ball over seven times and was trying to force the issue offensively a few times. He is good at basketball.
Hi, yes, could we please see more Donte DiVincenzo and Sterling Brown?! With the Bucks struggling defensively early in the game, coach Bud summoned the two young Bucks and their impacts were felt immediately. Both Sterling and Donte provided tenacious defense while also playing an integral role in the Bucks building a 20+ point lead in the second quarter. DiVincenzo dropped 14 points in 17 minutes and his jump shot was buttery. He canned 4-of-7 shots from deep and even added a nice euro-step on a fast break. He ended a game-high plus-34 (!!!!!). Not so secret anymore. As for Sterling, he scored nine points and hauled in 11 boards in 21 minutes. For me, the biggest impact he made was on the defensive end. I love how aggressive he was on that end the second he hit the floor. He also finished a ridiculous plus-26.
The Milwaukee Bucks arrived shortly after midnight from Orlando and will only have a few hours to get some rest and prepare to take on the Toronto Raptors. I’ll be tracking each of their charter flights this season if you are interested in following along! #ShamelessPlug
- Again, Khris Middleton was rock solid offensively. In only 20 minutes, he scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. Middleton playing only 20 minutes is huge considering the Bucks play tonight.
- Wesley Matthews was scoreless in 20 minutes :( and it looks like he could be losing minutes to Sterling and Donte in the near future. Still, Matthews is an important player to this Bucks team.
- Brook Lopez continues to lay bricks from downtown. His only made shot in 25 minutes was a three-pointer...he attempted six. The majority of his misses are wide-open, and those shots will fall eventually.