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Rapid Recap: Bucks 120, Pelicans 108

Giannis bullies New Orleans to secure a win

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In a battle of athletic freaks between the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans, the One True Freak prevailed as Giannis Antetokounmpo put his team on top with a 120-108 win. The Bucks saw the Pelicans splash home six triples in the first as they fell behind 33-26 after one period. Milwaukee made up some ground in the second period, as Giannis had 16 at half to keep the Bucks within 61-58 at halftime. Finally, Milwaukee broke out in the third period with 17 from Giannis alone as the Bucks snagged a commanding 100-85 lead. The Pellies mounted a run midway through the fourth, but the Bucks put them in their place to walk away with the W heading into the Thursday showdown with Philadelphia.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was a monster the whole night long against the Pelicans soft interior defense, completing his evening with 34 points, 17 rebounds and six assists. It was everything you would expect from the MVP against a young’un in Zion Williamson that folks have been hyping up for months. Boy was it satisfying to see Giannis meet him at the summit multiple times.

Khris Middleton’s wasn’t the same Human Torch shooter he’s been for the last few games, but his contributions across the board with 20 points, eight boards and eight assists helped Milwaukee keep it close for the first half and erupt in the second. Eric Bledsoe couldn’t find the bottom of the net enough at 7-20, but still tallied 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Wes Matthews had it going from deep with 17 points on 5-9 shooting from 3-point land.

Zion was the usage monster for the Pelicans, ending with 20 points, but the Bucks held him to just 5-18 shooting. Brandon Ingram was really the standout, as he’s been all year long for the Pelicans en route to his All-Star season, and he piled on 32 points and seven rebounds.

Stat that Stood Out

After New Orleans sweltering shot chart to start the game from deep, the Bucks clamped down on their defense in the second half to hold the Pelicans to just a 93.9 points/100 possession mark, per Cleaning The Glass. Normally, they rank 13th in the league with 111.5 pts/100 possessions. For context, the worst offense in the league, Golden State, has a 104.7 pts/100 poss mark, which Milwaukee was almost at in this one. Do not let the 120-108 score fool you, this was a defensive slugfest through and through, and the Bucks threw more haymakers.