Ah, so that’s what a victory feels like! The Bucks would find themselves back in the win column on Tuesday night, as they took care of the Washington Wizards, 126-113.
It’d be a quiet start for both teams, especially the Wizards, who wouldn’t even score their first field goal until the 6:25 mark in the first quarter. Out of the gates, I thought that this game would end up being like the time where Wisconsin-Penn State matched up in a 36-33 thriller in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament. Thankfully, things wouldn’t falter that bad in this one, as both teams seemed to eventually find their footing as things progressed. After one period of play, the Bucks maintained a 24-21 advantage.
There’d be more drama in the second quarter. After being knocked down by Mo Wagner on a rebounding opportunity, Antetokounmpo rammed a shoulder into him on the offensive end, resulting in a charge. He then confronted Wagner during a break, and headbutted him, which earned him an ejection from the game:
Giannis gets ejected from tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/POg9CZnhgo— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) August 12, 2020
Eventually, the game would resume and Milwaukee saw their lead expand thanks to the play from Sterling Brown, whose strong play was a pleasure to see (6-of-10 for 16 points in the opening half!). At halftime, the Bucks had pieced together a 66-56 advantage.
The Bucks would coast throughout the third quarter, with the bench continuing to pick up the majority of the minutes with their two star players out of the game. From that point on, Washington never threatened and the Bucks jogged over the finish line with a 126-113 win.
Brook Lopez would lead all scorers on the evening with 24 points (a performance that included a picture perfect 5-of-5 from deep). Sterling Brown mixed in 23 points of his own.
For Washington, Rui Hachimura was the top scorer, concluding his night with 20 points. #OldFriend Ish Smith contributed with 19 points off the bench.
Giannis has to know better.
Yes, I know the competitive juices are flowing. Yes, I know he was getting back out on the court after missing some brief time. However, you just have to weather those emotions and take it to whoever is frustrating you on the other end of the floor. We all are aware of Giannis’ history in acting out, including the decking of Mike Dunleavy in Game 6 of the 2015 playoffs. He’s also had some beef with Mo Wagner as well:
Regardless of the history, it’s likely that a suspension from the league office is going to come down on Antetokounmpo. As for how many? That remains unseen, but here’s the Blogfather’s take on the matter:
Keep in mind that multi game suspensions for stuff like this are pretty rare unless it starts an all-out brawl. Example: Giannis form-tackled Mike Dunleavy into the first row in 2015 and got one game.— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) August 12, 2020
It wouldn’t surprise me that by the time this piece gets published, Giannis already has an apology out. That’s just the type of person he is.
Have a game, Sterling!
Sterling Brown saw 30 minutes of action, mainly thanks to this game not meaning anything. And boy, did he take advantage! He’d tally 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including five 3-pointers. With the playoffs starting next week, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Sterling receive any high intensity minutes, nor should it be expected that he’s a solid fixture in the rotation. But it’s the playoffs, and preparation is always a must. Foul trouble could result in him seeing some time on the floor, so it was fantastic to see him out there last night putting up solid numbers in his 30 minutes played. That’s a perfect way for him to end the regular season, and he’ll have an opportunity to replicate that performance against Memphis to close things out.
It was also relieving to see Brook Lopez have a strong performance.
Splash Mountain’s 24 points ended up being a game-high, as he was a monster from the floor. He’d go 9-of-11 on field goals during the evening, including a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the perimeter. This is a performance Bucks fans have been dying to see. We all understand just how crucial Lopez’s long range shots are to this team, and when he’s on from beyond the arc, the Bucks get that much tougher to defeat. Surprisingly, he didn’t record any blocks on the defensive end, but when he’s putting those efforts together on the offensive side of the ball, we can let it slide.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- I mean, what are the Wizards even doing in the bubble? I forgot who tweeted it, but somebody on Twitter mentioned how they basically came down for a six-week conditioning program. That pretty much sums things up.
- It’s still pretty neat that Ish Smith is still in the league. He’s been on 11 teams throughout his NBA career, including the Bucks in the 2012-13 season. Just keeps chugging along. Mad respect.
- How about this dunk from Thanasis???
Even with Giannis being ejected, an Antetokounmpo was still throwing down nasty jams.
- It was also nice to see Pat Connaughton get a little roll going to start things off, as he connected on a pair of threes early in this one. Pat’s 3-shooting ability always tends to come off in short runs, so it was nice to see him get some connections made prior to postseason play. Let’s hope that can be replicated beginning next week.
- Get up, George!
You know it’s a good night when George Hill grazes the rim.