Where can you even begin? The first couple of minutes of the game weren’t wonderful, but some threes from Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez threw us off the scent. It’d be a grind, but a doable one! Or so we thought. The Bucks thereafter didn’t make anything or as close as you get in an honest-to-goodness NBA game. As a unit Milwaukee would shoot 10-46 from the floor in the first half (5-24 from three) as the Jazz rode the red-hot Mike Conley (20 points, 5-9 from three) to a 55-35 lead.
There was plenty to blame for such a poor start, but Giannis Antetokounmpo having massive struggles offensively is a pretty good place to begin. His 2 (2!!!!) first-half points would come at the FT line (he’d go 0/7 from the floor) as he had a tough time getting anything going inside or outside with Rudy Gobert holding the paint.
Work long enough, though, and a breakthrough will eventually come.
Having given away so many 20+ point leads the Bucks decided to try it on themselves for size as Giannis spearheaded a grinding third quarter that saw Milwaukee explode for 39 points (21 for Giannis alone) to set the stage for a see-saw fourth frame.
And see-saw it did! The drama truly unfolded in the games closing minutes with Giannis continually pushing the pace offensively. Unfortunately foul trouble struck once again and he’d pick up his sixth personal with about a minute to go. The non-Giannis fellows would lace together a number of critical stops and baskets, punctuated by George Hill stripping the ball from Donovan Mitchell and calling a TO with 2.3 seconds left.
Instead of a true pop, however, the Bucks inbounded the ball to a very crowded Khris Middleton in the corner who... promptly turned it over to the Jazz with 1.3 left on the clock. That’s all the time Bojan Bogdanovich (33 points and 5 rebounds) needed to get wide-open in the corner on the ensuing inbounds to sink the Bucks at the buzzer.
Ain’t no such thing as a moral victory. This one stings just a little.
Stat That Stood Out
That was the point total our very own Gabe Stoltz was faced with at Caesar’s Sportsbook in Vegas. I’ve no idea whether he actually wagered real American dollars on that one way or the other, but Gabe, if you’re reading, we hope you went home sort of happy tonight. Someone has to.