In a sleety Milwaukee night, the Bucks would fend off the visiting Charlotte Hornets, earning their 50th win on the season.
After starting off 4-of-8 from deep, the Bucks would cool off and miss their next seven 3-point attempts, resulting in a sluggish start to this one. Charlotte would jump out to a 32-24 lead after the end of the first quarter. Milwaukee would scratch and claw their way back throughout before the half, slashing the Hornets’ lead to just four at 59-55.
The third quarter would end up being titled The Brook Lopez Quarter. He’d explode for 18 points, catapulting Milwaukee back in front and providing a lead that the Bucks would not give back up. Any doubt that was circling amongst fans prior was eliminated, and win No. 50 was soon grasped.
The MVP would lead the scoring for Milwaukee, posting another casual 26/13/6 performance. Brook Lopez found a groove and manufactured 26 points to complement Antetokounmpo. Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic would mix in 18 of their own.
For Charlotte, Kemba Walker provided a team high 25 points.
This is Milwaukee’s first 50-win season since the 2000-01 campaign and just the second 60-win season in 30 years. That’s pretty exciting to say. I sent out a tweet saying how that figure has always seemed to be a goal for a season win total after the 15 win campaign. Whenever pre-season predictions rolled around, the bar was always set at 50 wins. And now, the Bucks have reached that number — with 16 games remaining. Now, the question no longer centers around 50 wins. It’s can they get to 60? Pretty impressive to think about.
The Brook Lopez Quarter!
Seven points. That’s how many points Brook Lopez had in the first two quarters of last night’s game. After the third, he’d have 18 more, as he was able to do anything he wanted to do down low. That’s where he scored all of his points during the quarter — in the paint. It really did seem as if he was paying homage to his “old” style of play and bludgeoning the opponent down low. It’s quite comforting knowing that this is just another way the Bucks can rely on getting things done if their Plan A gameplan isn’t going well. Lopez mentioned it in his postgame interview, and it really does make the Bucks that much stronger in the postseason.
Welcome back, Donte DiVincenzo!
I know it’s officially his second game back, but my oh my, is it fun having the Big Ragu back. Once again, he made a remarkable impact — and not just in the box score. Sure, he splashed home a pair of threes (including quite the and-1). But his grittiness and competitive nature is what stood out the most. When he’s out there sliding and diving around for loose balls, one could make the argument that that’s more influential than any shot. We saw it with our own eyes. When he dove head-first and ended up earning a jump ball, Fiserv Forum rose to their feet. I said it in my last extended recap, but this is March, and we all know DiVincenzo’s legacy at Villanova.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- I want to preface this bullet point by saying that I’ll always cheer for the Bucks. But man, did I get emotional seeing Frank the Tank light it up for the Hornets. That Badger team was so fun to watch and to see Kaminsky running the pick-and-pop as if he was wearing the cardinal and white put a smile on my face.
- It was a big bounce back performance for Nikola Mirotic. Finishing the night with 18 points, he was a key component in Milwaukee’s win. His clip of 6-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from three helped him register his third 15+ performance. You can definitely notice that his teammates are figuring out where his spots are at on the floor and that everybody is getting more comfortable with one another.
- With the victory, the Bucks have now won the season series vs. the Hornets (3-1). This might not be the last time these two teams meet, as Charlotte is just 1 1⁄2 games behind the Heat for the final postseason spot in the East.
- It was another rough night for the #FreeDJ avatars on Twitter. He didn’t enter the game until garbage time, and Ilyasova didn’t post the best game. What exactly is Bud thinking, you might ask? Well, here’s exactly what he’s thinking:
- This was the Bucks’ NBA-high-tying 13th game of the season with 130+ points. Only the 1969-70 (15) and 1970-71 (14) teams had more 130-point games in franchise history. This team just keeps rolling.