Wait...the Bucks actually lost a game. A hot-shooting Denver team would be too much for Milwaukee to handle, and they’d fall 127-115.
What a bizarre beginning to this one. In a late lineup change, Thanasis Antetokounmpo was inserted into the starting lineup. And boy, would he have one heck of a start in this one:
Χαρούμενη Ελληνική Βραδιά— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 1, 2020
HAPPY GREEK NIGHT!! pic.twitter.com/BehgRF8eZ3
It’d be a fun ride, as at one point, the Bucks would groom a 12 point lead and had Fiserv Forum absolutely rocking. Denver would float around, but the first quarter belonged to Milwaukee. Khris Middleton would roll over his 51 point performance with 13 points in the quarter. Advancing into the second period, the Bucks earned a 43-35 advantage.
The 3-point shooting would really begin to turn on for Denver in the second quarter. However, the Bucks weathered the storm and led by the All-Star duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks were able to stave off any real surge. When the teams headed into the locker room at half, Milwaukee groomed a 67-60 lead.
The third quarter was the quarter where the tide turned. Denver wouldn’t just get hot from the perimeter. They’d become invincible. Like, seriously...they couldn’t miss. While the Bucks started off the quarter 0-for-4, Denver would immediately use that to their advantage and quickly level things up. In the blink of an eye, the Nuggets would leapfrog to a double digit advantage. They’d end up tallying 40 points in the period, and going into the final quarter of play, flipped the tables to their own 100-91 advantage.
What seemed to be a possible Milwaukee comeback in the fourth quarter ultimately ended up resulting in fool’s gold. While the Nuggets quickly expanded their lead to 14 points, Milwaukee would nip it to just five points at one point. However, the hot shooting from Will Barton & Co. proved too much for the Bucks to handle, and Denver escaped Fiserv Forum with a 127-115 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the lead man for Milwaukee, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double. His final stat line would read 31 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists. Khris Middleton would mix in 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
For Denver, Will Barton led the way with 24 points, including a few clutch shots down the stretch.
We’ve seen this story before.
This is not a shock to many. In a game where the Bucks didn’t have the best shooting percentage from deep (12-of-40 for 30 percent) and their opponents were lights out (22-of-46 for 47 percent), Milwaukee wound up losing. In all of their losses this season, this has been the signifying trait. It is fascinating to see Bud’s defensive philosophy give opposing shooters so much room. Could this be something that comes back to haunt Milwaukee in the postseason? It definitely seems like it could. If there was something that ended up being Milwaukee’s downfall in the springtime, I think you could bet on it being that.
The impacts of Donte DiVincenzo and George Hill were well apparent.
Boy oh boy, did the Bucks miss these two. From the aggressiveness of George Hill to the energy that Donte DiVincenzo brings night in and night out, the Bucks could’ve used it last night. When Denver was connecting on three after three and facilitating the ball around the perimeter, it seemed as if Donte’s anticipation could’ve really aided Milwaukee. Pat Connaughton didn’t have the best game on the defensive end, and it showed the most in his perimeter defense. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bucks move forward without these two. Pre-game, Bud mentioned that Donte will be evaluated before Sunday’s game. However, it’s anticipated that George Hill will miss a few games with his left hamstring strain.
EVERYBODY on Denver was scoring.
Up and down the roster, there were no holes in the Nuggets’ shooting. Contributions were felt everywhere. Led by Will Barton and his 24 points, every player that touched the floor scored double-digits. When a team is firing on those cylinders, it’s nearly impossible to earn a win. We’ve seen it with the Bucks before and it was the exact same case with this Nuggets team last night. Add in the fact that Denver shot 48-of-100 and 22-of-26 from three, and it gets even tougher to win.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- It was definitely an odd night, and it started with Thanasis Antetokounmpo being inserted into the starting lineup. It really did throw off the Bucks’ rotations, as it’d be a while before Robin Lopez even sniffed the court. At many points throughout the night, it was difficult to follow Bud’s mindset.
- Despite the confusion that arose from the start of Thanasis, we were still treated with this awesome moment:
- Pre-game, Michael Malone discussed Michael Porter Jr. not being selected to the Rising Stars game:
Coach Malone on Michael Porter Jr NOT making the Rising Stars game:— Katy Winge (@katywinge) February 1, 2020
“If Michael isn’t a rising star I don’t know what the hell a rising star is.” pic.twitter.com/ZWy2W3AMxT
Does anybody else love the drama that’s coming with All-Star weekend snubs? From Bradley Beal’s girlfriend joining the postgame radio show to Jaxson Hayes’ wild video (if you haven’t seen it yet, you need to), it’s incredible and I hope it continues.
- I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see the Nuggets’ rainbow jerseys in person. They may be my favorite jerseys in the league. They are simply gorgeous and I would totally rock one.
- Giannis ended up going down at the basket in the waning minutes of the game. Mike Budenholzer would say that he doesn’t believe it to be anything serious, but we’ll monitor his status leading up to Sunday’s game vs. Phoenix.