Coming off a back-to-back following the Black Friday outing in Cleveland, the Bucks had no trouble in dismantling the visiting Charlotte Hornets. They’d topple them by a 137-96 score, a game in which Charlotte never stood a chance.
If there was any time the Bucks were even slightly vulnerable, it was in the opening minutes. Charlotte was coming off a back-to-back of their own (they were in Detroit the previous night), so both teams were equally sluggish to start this one off. Robin Lopez would fill in for his brother (who sat out with back soreness) at the five spot, and wasted no time in getting his fingerprints on the box score. He’d tally eight points in the opening period, providing a boost that Milwaukee used to garner a 32-25 lead.
That would be the last time the Hornets trailed by single digits. Milwaukee accelerated on the gas pedal from that point forward. Giannis Antetokounmpo would come alive in the second quarter, exploding for 15 points. It’d really pour the fuel on the fire, as the Bucks would keep moving up and down the floor with Charlotte looking absolutely gassed. At halftime, the Bucks grew a 66-49 lead.
From that point forward, it’d be all Bucks. Charlotte simply had no answers. In fact, I don’t really know what else to write here other than the fact that it was pure domination on behalf of the Bucks. When the clock finally hit zero, Milwaukee earned a whopping 137-96 victory.
As is becoming a common theme, Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers, putting up 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting. The only downfall to his performance was that he fell a rebound short of accumulating yet another double-double, which means his streak has finally come to an end at 19 games.
Khris Middleton was next in line for the Bucks, pouring in 15 points. Wesley Matthews notched another double-digit performance with a 14 point outing.
Devonte’ Graham had an impressive outing for Charlotte, contributing with 24 points on 10-of-18 from the floor, which included four 3-pointers. Terry Rozier would finish with 19 points.
Robin Lopez: A 3-Point Weapon???
That’s what it seemed like last night. After it was announced that Brook would sit out due to back soreness, it’d be Robin’s time to shine — and that’s exactly what he did. He immediately came out shooting, and you could see his confidence glowing. In the first half alone, he’d connect on several threes, which qualified for a new career high. I asked Budenholzer about the confidence Robin is exhibiting from deep, and he gave kudos where they were due:
Robin Lopez hit several threes in the first half tonight, which was a new career high in 3PM for him. I asked Bud about his confidence in his 3-point shot so far this season: pic.twitter.com/AMBFhLiR2i— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 1, 2019
In fact, Robin’s 3-point percentage this season (29.6%) is now higher than Brook’s (28.9%). In Robin’s postgame availability, Matt Velazquez mentioned to him how he has a higher 3-point percentage than his brother and asked what he thought about that — to which Robin responded, “The numbers speak for themselves, right?” I can’t get enough of this sibling rivalry.
Every Bucks player got in on the scoring last night.
Of the 13 players that touched the floor yesterday, everybody scored. That’s always an impressive feat, and that’s why I’m touching upon this. It allowed Budenholzer to provide some rest to his starters off a back-to-back, and it was clear how just how important that rest was:
“Yeah, huge. I think we’re at the 20-game mark, and we’ve been on the road a fair amount with just a steady stream of games. I think some guys are feeling it a little bit. So to get a night where those guys that are bumped and bruised, they play well, then the guys on the bench play well and we’re able to keep the highest guys to like 23-24 minutes, and to keep Giannis [Antetokounmpo] under 20 [minutes] is huge. So to find these nights in the schedule, or within the NBA schedule is really helpful for us.”
Here’s another interesting piece of information: For just the third time in franchise history, and the first time since 1985, the Bucks had nine players score in double figures. The other two times were 3/16/85 vs. Phoenix and 3/14/79 vs. Utah.
Have a game, Dragan Bender!
After coming off a back-to-back of his own from playing with the Herd the night before, Dragan Bender was called upon in the second half and made the most of his opportunity. Heck, it even earned him a podium game, as he spoke to us in the locker room. All in all, he’d total 12 points off the bench, sinking two threes. Budenholzer expressed his happiness towards him in his postgame comments, as well as his satisfaction with the Herd:
“Yeah, just really, really happy for him. His professionalism, his work ethic, his attitude to the big picture. He knows that there’s a plan for him. He knows he’s here to grow and develop and at some point he’s going to help us. Tonight, he got to come in and play and help us. Last night, you know, I’m really pleased with the Herd. They’re, I think, [8-1], playing really well. Dragan’s a big part of that. The program hopefully from top to bottom is doing a lot of good things. Dragan’s an example of that.”
In his postgame availability, Bender also discussed playing multiple games with the Bucks and Herd:
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me to go out there and get into NBA shape. I think it shows tonight that it’s the right move, when I go down there and play the games whenever I can. It’s not a bad thing. I think it’s a really good opportunity for me to go out there and get some runs with the guys. [We’re] pretty much running the same system [with the Herd], so it’s an easy transition for me going back and forth. Like I said, it’s not a hard trip for me. It definitely benefits me.”
It’s so great seeing the G-League being used in such a beneficial way that’s a win for all parties involved. I anticipate we’ll be hearing more postgame comments like this from not just Bender, but other players that make the trip from Oshkosh to Milwaukee as well.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- For the seventh time this season, the Bucks shot 50 percent or better as a team. Since last season, Milwaukee has shot at least 50 percent in 34 games (T-5th most in NBA) and owns a 31-2 record when doing so.
- It was pretty good watching Scary Terry not completely dismantle the Bucks, as we’re all still experiencing a little PTSD from that playoff series a few years ago:
Old enough to remember when Terry Rozier legitimately put the fear of God in me for two weeks straight— Riley Feldmann (@RileyFeldmann) December 1, 2019
- Each year I write the Extended Recap for the Hornets game, I always have a bullet point for how much I enjoy their jerseys — and this year is no different. That purple and teal color combo just hits on a different level for me, man. Definitely top five in the league.
- With the win, the Bucks improve their Eastern Conference-best record to 17-3 and are a season-high 14 games over .500 and extended their season-long win streak to 11 games. That 17-3 start is tied for the best 20-game start in franchise history (also done in 1970-71 and 1971-72). That 11-game winning streak is its longest winning streak since 1984-85, when they won 11 straight games from 1/9-2/2.
- Last, in one of the most impressive Half Minute to Win It performances so far this season, Brook Lopez named 34 Disney characters in 30 seconds. Afterward in the locker room, there was some fun competition going on among the Journal Sentinel’s Matt Velazquez and Lopez:
Some small trash talk playing out in the locker room postgame. @Matt_Velazquez just went up to Brook Lopez and said he could give him a run for his money at naming 34 Disney characters in 30 seconds.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 1, 2019
To be fair, I think Brook can obliterate me if he goes hard. I don’t think 34 characters in 30 seconds is Brook at full power. I have 2 small kids who almost exclusively watch Disney stuff so I feel like I’m well-suited for chasing that 34 number. https://t.co/KwwWBEPBkI— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) December 1, 2019
This now leads me to something I want get the opinion of our readers on. Does anybody have Disney+? I’m seriously contemplating getting it. I was never a big Disney guy growing up, nor am I really too into Star Wars or the Marvel movies. I am, however, into The Simpsons, and having a resource that has every episode ever made in one place is extremely tempting. However, I’m aware of the ratio aspects that currently exist with the older episodes, and will probably hold off on getting it (if I do so) until that issue is fixed. So, in a nutshell, is Disney+ worth it? (PS: I’m sure Kyle will come in to the comments discuss Disney with everybody, haha!)