The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t struggle putting down the Atlanta Hawks, even without Giannis Antetokounmpo, winning 112 to 86.
The Bucks jumped out to an 8-0 lead out of the gate, their starters utilizing signature traits — Khris Middleton’s isolation offense and Brook Lopez’ three-point shot — to gain a strong grip on the lead. Their second unit didn’t miss a beat, riding fluid movement and shooting on offense to a 32-point first quarter. A slow second quarter didn’t change the lead much, but a scoring surge in the third solidified the blowout win.
Giannis didn’t suit up due to back soreness. It’s likely a minor injury, giving him a much-needed night off as he looks to prolong his MVP tear.
Khris Middleton proved that he’s not only a capable number one option, but he’s a damn good one. His scoring in the mid-range propelled the Bucks early, as he finished with 18 first half points and 23 in total. Brook Lopez snapped a three-point slump, sinking two in the game en route to 19 points.
As for the Hawks, there’s Trae Young, a stud second-year guard with no visible ceiling on his potential. He finished with 12 points, two assists and a surefire All-Star nod from me.
Side Note: It appears that Young aggravated an ankle injury that had been previously bothering him. He left in the first half and didn’t return.
Stats That Stood Out
With five minutes left in the second quarter, every Milwaukee starter had a 12 or higher in the plus-minus category while every bench player (except Sterling Brown) had a zero or less.
That rift between starter and bench player grew in the second half. At the start of the fourth quarter, every starter had a 27 or higher in the plus-minus category while no bench player had a plus-minus higher than zero.