No, you do not need to pinch yourself, your Milwaukee Bucks are on pace for 70 wins this season at the halfway mark with this 122-101 win over the Portland Trailblazers. The first half was relatively close, but the Blazers were never able to make considerable headway into the Bucks lead as Milwaukee held a 64-55 advantage heading into half. A slow-burning efficient third period pushed the Bucks to an ever greater cushion heading to the fourth before they closed this game out comfortably down the stretch.
For those concerned about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s season-low scoring output against the Sacramento Kings Friday night, fear not, for Giannis made amends with a 32-point, 17-rebound and six assist stat line for the night. He looked hell-bent on decimating the Blazers weakened frontline without Hassan Whiteside and Terry Stotts’ team didn’t have an answer all evening.
Khris Middleton was left to cook from whatever part of the court pleased him, ending with 30 points on 11-17 shooting. Eric Bledsoe felt similarly, routinely leaving Blazers guards in his wake as he barreled to the rim en route to 29 points on 20 shots. It was nice to see Bledsoe get aggressive possession after possession.
For Portland, it was the typical suspects putting up their scoring output with their backcourt duo as the primary bucket-getters all evening. Damian Lillard ended with 26 points while C.J. McCollum tagged on 20 points. Kudos to Carmelo Anthony for getting up 17 shots (he hit seven) and effectively playing center for the Blazers at times. He ended with 19 points.
Stat that Stood Out
Here’s how you know the Milwaukee Bucks really had it cooking tonight: From the midrange, where Portland ranks 8th in terms of their frequency of shots from that location, the Milwaukee Bucks were still able to narrowly outscore the slick-shooting Portland Trailblazers, 20-18. Given Milwaukee ranks in the bottom-10 typically in terms of percentage of shots from the midrange, it’s a testament to their players that they were able to capitalize on what Portland was providing while still knocking down an onslaught of triples (14-38).