The Milwaukee Bucks are living every day like a hustle, and today was no different. After a slow start, Milwaukee was able to do the usual; assert their dominance on another NBA team. Tonight, that team was the Brooklyn Nets, who fell 117-97.
The Bucks started the game cold (0/6 from three) and all the shots looked short...maybe giving viewers the idea this game was a bit too early. That, combined with Giannis Antetokounmpo getting in early foul trouble because Kyrie Irving decided to “take a charge” instead of playing defense, made two strong pieces of evidence in favor of the power of naps. Things fortunately simmered down after a startling start, as Milwaukee took the reins of the game and never gave them back; an 8-point first quarter lead became 15 at halftime, which became 22 at the end of the third. Garbage time shortened the advantage to the final score, but that’s the nature of garbage time when you’re the best team in the NBA.
We mentioned his foul trouble, but Giannis didn’t let it faze him on his way to 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. Khris Middleton pitched in 20 points, 4 assists, and 4 boards, and Brook Lopez showed out with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 blocks against his old team. Kyle Korver (10 points) and Donte DiVincenzo (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) also contributed off the bench.
For Brooklyn, “leader of men” Kyrie Irving posted 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists (on 6/15 shooting), while Spencer Dinwiddie (11 points) and Taurean Prince (13 points) pitched in what they could in the losing effort. Jarrett Allen (5 points, 10 boards, 4 blocks) deserves a special shout-out, especially for his efforts in the second half that made life very difficult for Milwaukee’s offense. All in all, it’s nice that this game is over, as Dan Shafer puts it:
I hope the Bucks don’t play Brooklyn in the playoffs so I don’t have to see this court again.— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) January 19, 2020
Stat That Stood Out
It would be a ton of fun to look at how poorly the Nets shot from the field (33/99, 33.3%), but a number that’s worth more than a cursory chuckle is 8, the number of turnovers Giannis had. Early on in this one, the Nets were, shall we say, selling the impact of contact with Giannis at every opportunity, and they managed to draw four offensive fouls (and three in the first half!) as a result. In this case, Giannis didn’t play heavy minutes because the Bucks won handily, but under other conditions his absence would create a more dire circumstance. Not cause for worry, but worth paying attention to, since it seems to be truly the only way to hold the Greek Freak back.