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Milwaukee vs. Sacramento: Bucks Outlast Kings, 123-111

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No Giannis Antetokounmpo? No problem

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Despite no Giannis Antetokounmpo in the starting lineup (DNP — Dad Duty), the Bucks had no trouble with the Sacramento Kings. They’d take care of them, 123-111.

Even without the lack of scoring that Antetokounmpo typically provides, Milwaukee didn’t have any trouble putting the ball through the hoop to begin this one. Brook Lopez would start to quickly come alive, connecting on a few 3-pointers. Eric Bledsoe would match BroLo’s 10 points in the first quarter, and the All-Star Khris Middleton got his fingerprints on things with nine points of his own. Sliding into the second quarter, the Bucks constructed a 38-24 lead.

Sacramento would tighten things up in the second period. Through some missed opportunities by the Bucks, the Kings would find themselves within single digits most of the quarter. With just over 30 seconds remaining in the half, Sacramento would discover their first lead of the night. They’d end up going into the locker room with a slim one-point advantage at half, 58-57.

At some points throughout the third, it seemed like the Kings couldn’t miss. Add that to the fact that the Bucks floated out some questionable lineups (including one with Ersan at center), there was some clear frustration on Milwaukee’s end at times. The Kings would earn their largest lead of the point in the third quarter (six points), but it’d ultimately be short-lived. Going into the final quarter of play, the Kings maintained a 90-88 lead.

Milwaukee would waste no more time to mount a comeback in this one. Right out of the gates of the fourth quarter, they’d embark on a 10-0 run. That’d be all they needed to change the momentum for good. Sacramento would scratch and claw to try and stay above water, but in the end, Milwaukee proved to be too much. They’d cross the finish line with a 123-111 victory.

Three Observations

That’s the Eric Bledsoe that Bucks fans like to see.

Man, did the Bled Show come out for this one. With Giannis Antetokounmpo out, he stepped up and provided a massive boost to this offense. When it was all said and done, he’d end up with a stat line of 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists — a near triple-double. He’d also connect on not one, not two, but several threes — including one that was an absolute heat check. In the end, he was aggressive, but not too aggressive. It was a good, healthy combination of aggression and composure, and it ultimately ended up being a major ingredient for the Bucks in a gritty victory.

Sterling Brown came out ready to perform.

It seemed that whenever the Bucks needed a clutch shot, Sterling Brown was there to answer. He’d come off the bench and produce in a major way (11 points on 4-of-8 shooting). He’d also make good on several 3-pointers, each of which provided a huge spark of momentum. It’s good to see Brown being able to be so productive after everything that’s been swirling around him and his standing on this team throughout the trade deadline. He ended up surviving all of that drama, and tonight, he came in and did what was expected of him. Good for Sterling, and it paid off big for the Bucks.

Donte DiVincenzo continues to be a pest.

Donte’s hustle and aggressiveness never gets old, man. I can watch it for hours. Whenever there’s a pass cross-court, he’s waiting in the pocket and at least tips the pass. His anticipation is next level. Last night at one point, he’d hobble to the locker room after it appeared that he tweaked his left ankle. He’d eventually return, but during the time that he was off the court, one could notice the sluggishness within the Bucks’ defensive movements and flows. When he came back in, he brought that same intensity back out to the hardwood and the Bucks thrived off of it. Add in the fact that he splashed home 10 points off the bench and his contributions go even deeper. Gotta love it.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Could Brook Lopez be finding his groove? It at least appeared he could be to start this one. He sank two threes to start this one, something that we haven’t seen much of this season. That’d be all he’d hit from beyond the perimeter, but he’d continue to build a strong performance on the night with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
  • It seemed as if it was an off-night for Ersan Ilyasova. He couldn’t develop much of a groove, and at times, seemed lost. At one point, the Bucks trotted him out at center...and it didn’t go as planned. It’ll be interesting to see how his action is impacted by the acquisition of Marvin Williams moving forward.
  • Speaking of Marvin Williams, this was one of my favorite moments of the night:
  • Khris Middleton continues to dominate out on the floor. With his 28 points tonight, Khris Middleton has scored 20+ points in seven straight games. This is now tied for the longest 20-point scoring streak of his career. We’ll see if he continues the momentum on Wednesday night vs. Indiana. I assume he will.
  • Last, I’m a huge fan of the Kings’ uniform rebrand. I love the purple and grey color scheme. However, those red jerseys? Ehhhhhh. I’m not sold on them.