With real games just several days away, the Milwaukee Bucks were bested by the New Orleans Pelicans, 124-103, to close out their scrimmage contests. After In a battle of fast-paced squads, Milwaukee opened up a 30-21 advantage after the first period. By halftime, New Orleans narrowed that to just a 53-50 lead for the Bucks. Milwaukee’s defense surrendered a barrage of J.J. Redick triples in the third, sending them into the fourth down 90-81. They never quite made up the deficit, even with Giannis Antetokounmpo re-entering in the fourth, and the Pelicans prevailed in the end, putting Milwaukee’s scrimmage record at 2-1. They will play their first seeding game on Friday, July 31st at 5:30 Central on ESPN.
Giannis played his most minutes yet since the restart, ending with 30 points (including 12-15 on free throws) and eight boards in 23 minutes. He also had his best night from deep at 2-3. Khris Middleton was choppy from deep, going 0-4, but mustered 16 points, eight boards and four assists in his 26 minutes. JJ Redick led all Pelicans scorers with 20 points in merely 15 minutes. The Bucks ended just 10-38 (26%) from deep, with the Pelicans going 17-47 (36%).
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Milwaukee started this one with the same starters as their first scrimmage. Once again, George Hill replaced Donte DiVincenzo in the starting lineup to start the second half.
- With Eric Bledsoe still out, Bud opted to sub out Giannis early into this one, giving Khris Middleton plenty of time in the first quarter to own the offense.
- I wasn’t expecting the Giannis-Korver inverted pick-and-roll in the first quarter. The first one ended in a miss off the pop for the aged sharpshooter.
- I know he hopefully won’t figure into any sort of playoff rotation, but I’m still gonna miss the fact Ersan Ilyasova is still able to pump-fake and old-man-drive his way past Brandon Ingram for a layup at the rim. He saw extended minutes due to Marvin Williams groin injury announced pregame.
- In the second, Brook Lopez set up Ersan Ilyasova with a bad airball, leading to a hilarious tip-in by Ersan Ilyasova as the ball came at least a foot and a half away from the rim. It was some veteran volleyball action.
- My favorite sequence of the game may have been the mid-2nd quarter, when Giannis decided to take advantage of the Pelicans sleight interior defenders. He relentlessly forced his way through, either garnering trips to the charity stripe or extending his arms for a slick finish at the rim. This was the apex of that several minute stint:
- Bud opted for a zone defense several times during this one. I’ll be curious to see if that’s something he employs at all throughout the seeding games...hopefully to improved effect.
Bucks in zone with Korver and both Lopez' on the floor. Giannis at the top which should help with switches. The thing is matching up. Everything is ok until Redick cuts to the opposite corner. Uncertainty between Middleton/Lopez on weakside guarding one, no help. pic.twitter.com/1byZRlYJfb— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) July 28, 2020
- Sterling Brown played his finest game of the scrimmages thus far. He looked active defensively, stripping players, getting up in Brandon Ingram’s jersey at times and playing the passing lanes throughout. He topped it off on the other end with a three-point play (the old fashioned way) and a four-point play at various points throughout the game. He ended with seven points and three each of steals, rebounds and assists. Kudos to him for keeping with it after some more mediocre showings.
- As a “Bucks home game,” this contest had a few more accoutrements than the other contests. There were superimposed Bucks logos and text on the court, and we even got a brief spurt of “Power” by Kanye West playing over the loudspeakers, a staple of Bucks game ops for years now. We heard a couple other standbys in the latter stages of the contest.
- The FS Wisconsin crew said the whole group should be back on Friday, including Marques Johnson and Steve Novak. Shout out to Zora Stephenson for her work as color commentator in these games. What she’s lacked in terms of advanced analytical insight that Johnson brings, she’s had plenty of chemistry with Jim, smart quips like Bubble Tea Time and “the Jury,” and has generally brought a knowing, positive presence to the broadcast. Here’s hoping she’ll get more opportunities to do so in the future.
- Maybe this happens against every team, but it sure feels like it happens every time J.J. Redick faces Milwaukee:
J.J. Redick had one point with 4:24 left in the third quarter vs. Milwaukee, then scored 19 points on 5-of-5 shooting (4-of-4 3s) and 5-of-5 free throws the rest of the quarter, including a 4-point play.— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) July 28, 2020