We would not end up getting the Malcolm Brogdon Revenge Game in this one after all. Instead, the Bucks trounced the Indiana Pacers, 117-89 at Fiserv Forum.
Indiana opened things out on a 10-0 run, taking advantage of the Bucks putting up some iffy shots on the offensive end. However, it wouldn’t take long for Milwaukee to find their footing. Paced by seven points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks began to find themselves back in the game. Moving into the second quarter, Indiana’s lead had dissipated to just a single point, 22-21.
Things would fluctuate back-and-forth between the two teams in the second quarter. Any time that Milwaukee seemed to be stirring up even the slightest amount of momentum, Indiana was there to quickly neutralize things. The Bucks would close out the half on a small run, capped off by a George Hill three in the waning seconds. At halftime, Milwaukee found themselves up 59-54.
The Bucks would really begin to get themselves moving in the third quarter. The contributions of both George Hill and Wesley Matthews proved contagious, as they were key cogs in Milwaukee growing a 20+ point advantage. However, Indiana would still find themselves in the thick of things, thanks to an 11-0 run that closed out the period. Heading into the final quarter of play, the Bucks owned an 83-73 advantage.
That’d be the closest the Pacers would get it the rest of the way. The Bucks would grow that double-digit lead back up to 20+, thanks in large part to a couple of threes being knocked down by Brook Lopez. Fueled by that, the Bucks had more than enough momentum in the tank to finish this one out, and wrapped up a 117-89 victory.
No player on the Bucks would surpass 20 points on the evening, but Giannis Antetokounmpo almost tallied his second consecutive triple-double. He put forth a 18 point/19 rebound/nine assist performance on the night. Wesley Matthews finished with a team-high 19 points and George Hill poured in 17 off the bench.
Giannis didn’t have his best game and still nearly got a triple-double.
This blows my mind, but it really shouldn’t at this point. Sure, Giannis Antetokounmpo only put up 18 points on the night. In fact, his 11 points through three quarters was a season-low. Nonetheless, he made his presence felt in many other areas of the game. When the final horn sounded, he nearly earned his second straight triple-double, finishing with 18 points / 19 rebounds / nine assists. You surely know that he wasn’t happy with this performance and knows that he can do better. Might this mean we get an angry Giannis performance in Philly on Christmas Day? Man, would that be a treat. Sign me up.
Are we sure that George Hill isn’t a robot?
He’s really developing quite the streak, folks. Shooting 50+ percent from deep (especially on the dribble), he continued his hot play with another formidable outing yesterday, putting up 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including several threes. Budenholzer was asked during his postgame availability if he’s ever seen him play better. His answer? “No.” It’s hard to disagree with him on that one. Whenever Hill puts up a shot, you expect it to go in. That’s the level of play that he’s currently at. He has now scored in double figures in each of the last five games, marking a season-long streak and the first time he’s scored in double figures in five consecutive games since the 2017-18 season (11/13-11/20, 5 games). He also had a season-high nine rebounds in the win.
The Bucks committed just seven fouls last night.
A truly impressive effort on the defensive end for Milwaukee. In fact, check out this statistic from our Co-Editor Adam Paris:
Bucks allow just 5 free throws for the Pacers.— Adam Robert Paris (@adamrparis) December 23, 2019
Had to go back to 2011-12 season for last time an opponent has shot 5 or less FTs against Bucks.
Ah, yes. The 2011-12 season. A season that was filled with the likes of Carlos Delfino, Jon Brockman, Stephen Jackson, Darington Hobson, and so much more. Budenholzer was asked about the team’s discipline on the defensive side and was quick to praise his guys’ efforts:
“We preach to defend without fouling. You know, try to be fundamental, beat people to spots, show your hands, things like that. It’s something that’s really important to us, so to have a night where we limit [fouls] is really important. I think that’s where you end up having some really low point total quarters. Hopefully we keep it up going forward.”
It will be interesting to see if the Bucks will be able to keep this discipline up. However, I’m a little skeptical to believe that it’ll happen vs. Philadelphia on Christmas Day. We all know how physical those games are, and there’ll surely be a few scuffles.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Last night was Milwaukee’s fifth back-to-back of the season. The Bucks are now 5-0 in the second game of a back-to-back so far this season and 10-0 combined in the first and second games of back-to-backs overall. A pretty impressive stat.
- I don’t have video of it, but there was a point where Brook Lopez dribbled through the paint and went through the spin cycle...and it was glorious. Point Brook is absolutely exhilarating.
- As for the other Lopez twin, he had quite a game himself. He’d come off the bench with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, providing a well-needed boost for the Bucks.
- This game was the Bucks Holiday Game, which meant that during every break in the action, they’d play Christmas songs. There’s no better time for me to share my top-five Christmas songs:
- Snoopy’s Christmas by The Royal Guardsmen
- The entire A Charlie Brown Christmas (too hard to pick one) by Vince Guaraldi
- Deck the Halls by Mannheim Steamroller
- Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby
- Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
- Last night marked Giannis Antetokounmpo’s NBA-high seventh game of the season with 15+ points, 15+ rebounds, and five or more assists. The next closest player has two such games.