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Milwaukee vs. Los Angeles: Bucks Roll Past Lakers, 109-102

Giannis explodes for 47 points, Khris knocks down 16 in his return to action

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In their lone visit to Milwaukee during the regular season, the Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 109-102.

Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the main recipe for the Bucks in the first quarter. He’d erupt with 17 points in the period. Los Angeles didn’t have much to offer in stopping him. The Lakers would stifle the rest of the Bucks’ offense throughout the period, though Milwaukee would earn a lead at one point Going into the second, LA led 32-30.

Antetekounmpo would continue to be a beast for Milwaukee in the second quarter. He’d go off for 11 more points, totaling 28 at intermission. Bobby Portis would bring back the same energy we saw all postseason long and bring Fiserv Forum to its feet late in the period. It’d help the Bucks carry a double-digit lead at halftime, 64-53.

Anthony Davis would start to score points in the third, which helped the Lakers start make a comeback. It’d get to the point where they’d actually hold a lead of their own in the final moments of the quarter. However, the Bucks were able to finish with a slight run and carry a slim 85-83 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Bucks would ultimately hold their lead throughout the final quarter of play, thanks to to the strong duo of Giannis and Khris Middleton. Once Antetokounmpo was subbed back into this one, the Lakers started to crumble and had trouble deciphering a code to stop him. He’d ultimately reach 47 points on the evening and help Milwaukee put the finishing touches on a 109-102 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo would lead all scorers in this one, posting a final stat line of 47 poitns. He’d accumulate that on 18-of-23 shooting. He’d also boast a fantastic percentage at the line, going 8-of-11. Khris Middleton also poured in 16 points in his return back to action.

For the Lakers, Talen Horton-Tucker led the way, finishing with 25 points.

What Did We Learn?

We learned that Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be good at this whole game of basketball thing. Once again, he erupted for a massive outing — 47 points on 18-of-23 shooting, including several three pointers. Once Antetokounmpo re-entered the game in the fourth quarter, this one really seemed to be done. He simply battered around the Los Angeles defense and scored seemingly at will — much like he’s being doing with other defenses in the league. When Giannis is on like he was last night, this Bucks team is tough to beat.

Three Observations

This team appreciates having Khris Middleton back out on the floor.

In his first game back from the health and safety protocol, Khris Middleton picked up right where he left off. In just over 30 minutes played, he’d register 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting, including a pair of threes. He’d also go 6-of-7 from the free throw line. In his postgame availability, Mike Budenholzer said that those 30 minutes were near the top of how far that they wanted to go prior the game. Following warmups, Middleton mentioned to the staff that he could give them a little bit more action, and that’s what allowed the Bucks to feel comfortable giving him a longer leash. I thought it was interesting considering that when Jrue Holiday came back from the health and safety protocol last season, he was worked back into the offense over a series of games (17 minutes in his first game back). Last night, Middleton played over 30. Regardless, it’ll be great for the Bucks to have Middleton back moving forward, as it gives them another option to pair alongside Giannis in the closing outs of games.

Bobby Portis played as if it was the postseason all over again.

With Brook Lopez continuing to be sidelined due to injuries, the Bucks continue to rely on some nifty lineups. Last night featured Bobby Portis at the five, and boy, did he bring the energy. He’d finish with 17 points on a crafty 8-of-14 shooting which resulted in 17 points. It honestly felt as if it was the postseason yet again — Portis brought the same energy and hustle that we saw throughout the playoff run. He was yelling at the crowd. He was on the ground. He was hitting timely shots. At one point, he got three offensive rebounds, which then resulted in a Jrue Holiday 3-pointer that shook the Fiserv Forum foundation. It’s absolutely massive to have a player of Portis’ caliber that brings it night in and night out, and he’ll surely continue to bring that same level of play moving forward.

Pat Connaughton quietly had another effective outing.

Man, how big has Connaughton been for Milwaukee so far this season? He just keeps getting things done at a smooth rate of efficiency. Last night was just another example. Off the bench, he’d chip in with a helpful contribution of 16 points, including four threes. He’d also feature a few pick-and-pops with Giannis, which is starting to gel quite nicely. In his postgame availability, Antetokounmpo praised Pat’s ability to get open and their blooming chemistry. Time and time again, he just brings a level of consistency that gives the Bucks a bump when they need it.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • With his final 3-pointer of the evening, Khris Middleton tied Ray Allen for the most 3-pointers made in a Bucks uniform (1,051). That was pretty cool to see and speaks to just how historic of a run Middleton has had in Milwaukee — to be at a player the caliber of Ray is massive, and something tells me that he’ll be the sole holder of that record soon.
  • Semi continues to really struggle for the Bucks. Last night, he’d fail to tally a point in just over 14 minutes played. So far, the Ojeleye experiment hasn’t gone as planned, and it’ll take some big improvements for it to start turning in the right direction.
  • I thought this was interesting. In 22 minutes played, George Hill failed to score a single point. However, he did post nine rebounds. His plus/minus? 23. That was the highest on the Bucks for the evening.
  • It was a little disappointing for LeBron to sit this one out. I was hoping he’d be able to play, but hey, who knows. Maybe the Bucks will see him in the Finals?
  • Last, Red Panda made her return to Fiserv Forum. She wouldn’t drop any bowls, but there was a point where she did corral some bowls as they started to slide off her head once they landed. Overall, a very strong performance from a legendary halftime performer.