Jabari Parker getting some running in after the game. He played 16 minutes for the Kings tonight. pic.twitter.com/0ojOVjFl5W— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) February 22, 2021
What We Learned
Donte DiVincenzo...a solid basketball player! He has defended Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and De’Aaron Fox in back-to-back games and has answered the call both times. Now, it was a group effort in trying to contain Fox on Sunday, but DiVincenzo had Fox in prison when guarding him. Offensively, Donte turned (temporarily) into an elite finisher around the basket in the win. While Sacramento’s interior defense is porous (putting it lightly) it was extremely encouraging to see him drive to the basket in control and with force. He finished the night with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 31 minutes.
Even better news! Jrue Holiday was spotted on the bench on Sunday which is an encouraging sign, to say the least. DiVincenzo’s play will only improve with Holiday on the floor.
Khris Middleton was cooking with gas. In an offensive rut? Call the Sacramento Kings, baby! He was firing early but really hit his stride in the second and third quarters to help put the visiting team away early. There was a lot of action being run for Khris offensively and he was able to create space in isolation situations where he is oh so deadly. He scored 32 points to go along with eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals. He shed Fox on a smooth drive to the basket in the second half that sent Fox flying past the baseline.
Giannis Antetokounmpo...reliable free throw shooter? Ever since the debacle against the Dallas Mavericks, he has been MUCH better from the foul line. He was extremely effective in the second quarter and gained momentum by continuously getting to the line at will. With how aggressively he played offensively, he definitely deserved more free throw attempts. There was one possession in the first half where he got fouled by three different players at one time. The result? No whistle. Lol. I don’t want to jinx it, but the major improvements from the charity stripe make the Bucks that much more deadly. Even though Giannis missed a few easy ones, he was very patient offensively and did not force the issue or take any ill-advised three-pointers. He did hit a few baseline turnaround jumpers and one runner while getting fouled by Jabari Parker, too. His spin-back move in the post late in the fourth quarter put the cherry on top of his 38 point, 18 rebound performance (plus-29).
Pat Connaughton, Bryn Forbes, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo all enjoyed solid performances in the victory. Connaughton’s activity defensively made a difference and he made some great closeouts throughout the game. His production, or lack thereof at times can be frustrating, but the Bucks will absolutely take him being efficient offensively (12 points) while wreaking havoc defensively. He did have his usual not even close flyby on a three-point shooter, though. Connaughton is very effective as a passer when he’s cutting to the rim. He had a nice dime to Thanasis under the basket for an easy deuce and finished plus-23. Bryn (10 points) played a solid role in Milwaukee’s 42-point second-quarter. I can’t wait to see him shoot it in the postseason. Finally, there’s Thanasis...you never know what you are going to get production-wise from him. However, for the second night in a row, he brought the energy defensively. He STUFFED Marvin Bagley’s dunk attempt...that was wild.
Thanasty with the dunk.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 22, 2021
Thanasty with the reaction. pic.twitter.com/ESj7nhnTXL
- The Kings have a lot of talented young players...but that front office is...not great!
- Bobby Portis did not have a game to remember. He got bullied on the boards by Hassan Whiteside in the first half but did knock down a few jumpers offensively.
- Even though he missed open shots, D.J. Augustin was serviceable in his second start of the season. Granted, it was against the Kings, but he set up open shots with dribble penetration.
- This game started and ended too late.
An 8pm tip-off?! In *this* economy?!— Mitchell Maurer (@Mitchell_NBA) February 22, 2021
- Brook Lopez was quiet offensively, but he was great defensively. He altered a ton of shots around the rim and held his own in switching situations. A step in the right direction, for sure.