Welcoming their neighbors to the west for their yearly visit to Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Bucks were roundly defeated by a reinvigorated Minnesota Timberwolves 113-108, a final score that hides how one-sided this game was for long stretches. Despite a season-high 40 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee had no answers for D’Angelo Russell (29), Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Edwards (each with 25).
From the getgo, it was apparent that the Bucks would struggle to contain the Timberwolves’ attack without two of their top three defensive players in Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday. Minnesota seized the lead with a scorching start, forcing an early timeout at 16-7. They would shoot the lights out in the first on their way to a 44 point quarter. While they cooled off in the second, the Bucks shooters struggled to find nylon as they only made up 2 points of their 10-point first-quarter deficit, heading into the locker room down 66-58.
The Bucks briefly cut the lead to 3 as the second half began, but as would be the problem all night, they struggled mightily to corral defensive rebounds. Those extra opportunities allowed the T-Wolves to build their lead back up to as much as 18 before the quarter ended. While Minnesota stayed up double digits until the closing minutes, they managed to weather a late Milwaukee charge: buried deep in the corner and in double coverage, Khris Middleton drained a long two to shrink the Minnesota lead to 2 with 34.6 to go. Unfortunately, Edwards answered right back with a layup on the other end plus one which represented the decisive blow. From there, the Wolves iced it at the line.
Stat That Stood Out
While the Bucks managed to come out ahead on the offensive glass thanks to some late second chance opportunities, for much of the game the story was the Wolves’ 24-13 advantage on second-chance points. Lopez has long been renowned for his box-out ability, so without his muscle, Milwaukee had few counters for Towns or Naz Reid in the post and let Minnesota clean up many of their own misses.