As it turns out, having Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the lineup does indeed help, with the Milwaukee Bucks dispatching the Chicago Bulls in this one, 123-102. It started out promising with a 31-20 lead after a quarter, but the Bulls heated up from deep in the second quarter so the Bucks only led by three at halftime. They were merely 1-14 from 3-point land at that point. The second half belonged to Milwaukee though, with a 40-point outburst in the third period alone before the Bucks casually glided to another win. That moved them to 10-0 on the season against division opponents.
Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t look like his normal unbeatable self this entire game, but there were plenty of jaw-dropping moments regardless with a thunderous Statue of Liberty dunk. He ended with 23 points, 10 boards and six assists on a tidy 8-14 shooting performance.
Alongside him, Khris Middleton tabbed 25 points, six rebounds and four assists while Eric Bledsoe provided a fittingly unflashy 15 points, three boards, three assists and four steals in just 16 minutes. Clearly the Bucks are going to be cautious with their point guard’s return. Amazingly, Ersan Ilyasova’s double double streak continued even off the bench with 14 points and 10 boards.
For Chicago, Coby White again got hot for a period, finishing with 18 points on 3-6 from deep, but inevitably his chucking mentality lead to an average 7-18 overall shooting line. Meanwhile, Zach LaVine was only 7-23 on the game for 19 points, while Lauri Markkanen was about the only one hitting somewhat consistenly with 18 points on 6-12.
Stat that Stood Out
Flat out, the Bucks were cooking from almost everyone, besides deep for the first half, on the floor. Their 54.4% shooting performance was their fourth best of the season, and even more impressive given the Bulls absolutely putrid shooting game, just 37.7%. The Bulls got plenty of second chance shots and opportunities for points off turnovers, but the fact they got less points off turnovers (9) than Milwaukee (18) despite turning it over nearly half as often as the Bucks tells you plenty about how this game went for them.