Even with the Eastern Conference’s top record secured, the Milwaukee Bucks did not approach their matchup against the Dallas Mavericks with the intent of throwing the game. After all, they only have four more games until the playoffs will begin, so the time to prepare is now. Milwaukee treated this game seriously, but weren’t able to overcome the offense of the Mavericks as they fell to Dallas, 136-132.
Brook Lopez (34 points, 6/12 from three) was huge tonight, and provided the momentum behind the Bucks’ big push in the second quarter. Eric Bledsoe (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) continued his comeback from coronavirus, making several smart drives to the basket to bend the defense.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (34 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, fouled out in overtime) struggled to lead the way during most of this game. That said, he withstood a nasty kick to the groin and a long, frustrating drought at the free throw line, but there was something off about his performance, particularly in the second half. Khris Middleton (21 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds) was his customary, steadily-productive self.
For Dallas, Luka Doncic (36 points, 19 assists, 14 rebounds) was sensational all night, notching a triple-double early in the fourth quarter and routinely flummoxing any defender the Bucks threw at him. Part of the problem was that Milwaukee defenders got caught ball-watching, and Luka found his teammate that wasn’t being paid enough attention for timely shots. Teammate Kristaps Porzingis (26 points, 11 boards) was similarly effective, including a handful of dunks that left his ACL injury (suffered against the Bucks two years ago) a distant memory.
Stat That Stood Out: 67.6%
Both the Bucks and the Mavericks made 23 free throws. Trouble is, Dallas attempted only 25, while Milwaukee took 34, converting only two-thirds of them. With a game that went into overtime, a made foul shot here or there could have completely avoided the need for overtime. Giannis himself (7-14 from the line) was the biggest culprit, as no other Buck missed more than one free throw.