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Milwaukee vs. Indiana: A Return to Form

The Bucks pull away with a dominating fourth quarter

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

An Indiana Pacers squad missing their top-two ballhandlers mustered all they could, but this Milwaukee Bucks team flexed their muscles late to snag a 119-100 win. The Bucks flipped the script on their cold-shooting streak in Miami, bludgeoning Indiana all over the court to take a 36-23 lead after one. Indiana continued to weasel their way back into the game in the second quarter, getting within 58-56 as halftime hit. The Bucks regained their lead in the third, heading into the final period up 89-79. Milwaukee quit letting them hang around pretty quickly, finishing them off with a swift scoring spree to emerge victorious.

Three Pointers

Big Ragu Pushing Past His Lid

Donte DiVincenzo had an insanely productive two-way sequence in the first quarter. It started with a triple, followed by him blowing up a DHO between Turner and Brogdon by beating Broggers to the spot. Subsequently, he nailed another three a few possessions later, followed by blocking a three and then slinking out for an outlet pass and the finish. When The Big Ragu is on, he’s as disruptive as a hot weather fly whirring round your face. Later, he confidently came around a screen and pulled up for a midrange jumper. If he can look comfortable nailing those types of shots, and even extend his distance to hit them reliably, that’s a quality leap for him. He finished with 19 points.

Toasted Soda Bread

Pat Connaughton, an able player who was integral to Milwaukee’s playoff run last year and remains a vastly useful player on his contract, did not have his best defensive night to say the least. Doug McDermott decimated his Irish last name brother with frantic movement off-the-ball the entire game. Whipping around screens, fake backcuts, real backcuts, Connaughton just couldn’t stick with McDermott in this one. Pat’s defense has long been one of the quietly weaker parts of the Bucks’ rotation. His effort is there, but the over-eager bounds to block balls and inability to slink around screens with quite as much devastating effectiveness as Donte, Hill or Bledsoe holds him back. I’ll be curious to see how he figures into the rotation come Playoff time, and if he plays, whether teams will target him how the Pacers did in this one.

A Different Defensive Performance

Usually it’s just an overwhelming bevy of triples that opposing teams employ against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers are different. With just 27 3-point attempts, and only hitting seven of them (25.9%), Indiana opted to do most of their work inside the arc. It’s not surprising either, the Pacers take the second fewest percentage of their shots from deep. Theoretically, their shot diet plays directly into Milwaukee’s hands. One has to give some credit to Indiana for their finishing at the rim though, they hit 60% (18-30) of their shots at the rim, compared to the Bucks’ usual 54.2% average. The real impressive figure was their short midrange game (4-14 feet), where the Bucks allowed 47.4% shooting compared to their league-best 36%. I’m less concerned about the latter, floaters don’t feel like a shot that can be reliable against this Bucks team, but Milwaukee was bailed out a little bit in this one with the Pacers horrific outside shooting.

Bonus Bucks Bits

Giannis had only attempted nine corner threes coming into this game, but he splashed another one in the first quarter against Indiana. Counting tonight’s attempt, seven of his ten total attempts have come since January 1st. Interesting to see Bud implement that wrinkle a little more; he’s also 5-10 on corner triples now.

Khris has been seeing Giannis’ turnaround baseline jumpers and just wanted to remind us all that he’s the OG

I know he’s He-Man strong, but it still surprises me occasionally how Giannis can push a massive man like Myles Turner entirely off his spot. In the third, the two men met shoulder-to-chest and Giannis’ shoulder won.

Whoo boy was this underhanded pass pretty. The strength it must take to fling this sucker right on the money is ludicrous.

Here’s an inside joke almost nobody probably got, but shout out to Dave Pasch on the play-by-play for saying Wes Matthews doesn’t have to call his bank shot because, like Pasch, “he’s from Madison and we don’t do that.”

We had three separate jump balls between Giannis and Turner in this one. I wonder what the record is between two players in one game?

Giannis took the technical free throw in this one. That seems notable! New free throw routine paying off I guess...kudos to Eric for this stat

Few things are prettier than Donte’s impeccable timing snaking into the paint for an offensive board or tap-out. His fourth quarter one was paid off purely when Giannis dished a behind-the-back pass to him for a corner triple. Slick.