For the fifth game in a row, the Milwaukee Bucks have won a basketball game, as they knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers 105-100 Sunday afternoon at Fiserv Forum.
This Sunday matinee would get started with some nice, finesse moves from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Whether it was from his scoring or passing, he was all over the floor in the opening period. Milwaukee would ride on six points from Brook Lopez and five apiece from Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis to capture a 27-23 lead after one.
The Bucks would contribute on the offensive side with some beautiful ball movement, consistently opening up the floor and creating spacious shots. Antetokounmpo would lead the scoring column for the Bucks after one half of play with 11 points. Milwaukee would carry a 53-48 advantage into the third.
While the Bucks would flirt with a double-digit advantage early on in the third quarter, the Clippers showed no sign of putting themselves out of reach. Instead, they’d re-gain control and steal the lead from the Bucks midway through the third. That first half crisp passing action? It seemed to evaporate away in the third. Milwaukee would find themselves down by four points entering the final quarter of regulation.
The intensity in this one would be palpable down the stretch with Fiserv Forum absolutely rocking. A pair of free throws from Giannis Antetokounmpo would put Milwaukee over the edge and earn the lead. Then, on the next possession, Antetokounmpo would absolutely cram one home, giving the Bucks a three point lead. On the other end, Kawhi Leonard would be unable to convert on a game-tying 3-pointer, resulting in Khris Middleton icing the game from the free throw line and providing the Bucks with a 105-100 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo would lead the scoring for the Bucks, concluding his night with 36 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists. Khris Middleton added a solid effort with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard led the scoring with 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting.
What Did We Learn?
We learned just how good it felt to have Jrue Holiday back in the lineup. He’d conclude his afternoon with 18 minutes played. In that time on the floor, he’d go just 1-of-5 for two points, but the impact he had in staggering the rotations was immense. Moving forward, Holiday’s minutes will continue to tick upwards as he re-gains his sea legs. But my oh my, were those 18 minutes very much welcomed. Everybody from Mike Budenholzer to Khris Middleton to Giannis Antetokounmpo discussed in their postgame availabilities just how great it was to have Jrue back out there.
While Giannis did score 36 points, his passing was quite exquisite as well.
The five assists that Antetokounmpo tallied don’t shine as much in the stat column as his 36 points, but I want to talk for them a little bit. Giannis’ court vision seemed to be the best I’ve seen it in a while. Whatever seemed to be the right pass to make in the situation, he seemed to make it. In the first half, there was an absolutely gorgeous pass he made to the corner of the floor, resulting in DJ Augustin splashing home a three. It was absolutely beautiful.
Now, let’s talk about Giannis’ scoring.
We all know what the Greek Freak brings to the table, but sometimes, he just does stuff that always amazes you. Today was no different with his 36 point, 14 rebound, and five assist performance. I mentioned how the intensity within Fiserv Forum was off the rails down the stretch, and the 1,800 or so fans nearly brought down the house when Antetokounmpo slammed one home to pad Milwaukee’s lead by three under a minute to go. I’m typing this up nearly 45 minutes after the game concluded and it looks like the rim is still shaking from that slam.
It was a rough day at the office for Brook Lopez.
Things didn’t go fully as Brook Lopez had intended for them to go. While the big man did tally 10 points, some of his looks from deep simply didn’t look the best and were ineffective shots given the situation. In the third quarter, he’d also give up two offensive rebounds to Patrick Beverley, which would serve as the catalyst for the Clippers to regain the lead. It’d be tremendous if Lopez could uptick his contributions as the Bucks close out the first half of the season, but he’ll have a strong test Tuesday night as Nikola Jokic comes to town with the Nuggets.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- For the first time in his career, Giannis Antetokounmpo has scored 35+ points in four consecutive games. Prior to today, he was the first Buck since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973 (4 games, 1/6-1/14) to have 35 points in three consecutive games and is just the third player to do this in franchise history (K. Abdul-Jabbar, 11 times; F. Robinson, 1 time). By the way, F. Robinson isn’t a typo for Big Dog. It’s actually Flynn Robinson, who played with Milwaukee from 1968-70.
- With a free throw attempt in the fourth quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo passed Michael Redd on the all-time Bucks scoring list. Earlier this week he passed Bob Dandridge, and he’s in a prime position to pass Sidney Moncrief next week.
- Does Giannis have the receipts of some people on Bucks Twitter? Here’s an excerpt from his postgame availability:
Giannis with a smile on his face: "When we lost five games in a row, everybody was panicking. Now we win five in a row and nobody's talking about it."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 1, 2021
- This was a sight to see:
- This was also a sight to see. Just wow:
Great angle on Giannis’s block. It obviously didn’t go Ivica Zubac’s way, but he needs to continue being aggressive and challenge defenders in this way. Giannis is among the few rim protectors who can make such a play. pic.twitter.com/LP6i4NAnkj— Positive Residual (@presidual) February 28, 2021
- As he closed out his postgame availability, Paul George gave a shoutout to the Bucks Games Ops for how they had local Milwaukee black business owners announce the starting lineups:
"I just wanna say shoutout to Milwaukee for that starting lineup. What they did was beautiful, to have black-owned business do their starting lineups. I think it was awesome. Shoutout Milwaukee for that. Love!”— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 28, 2021
Paul George shouts out @Bucks! pic.twitter.com/Cfiggjdm9R
Want to support locally black-owned Milwaukee businesses? Click here for a complete list! Wherever you are, support your black-owned businesses!
- I tweeted about this prior to the game, but I’m still a believer that the Clippers’ flunked their re-branding. I think this is much better:
Every time I see the Clippers' uniforms, I'm reminded just of just how boring they are. IMO, this fan mockup is much better. pic.twitter.com/SD3AnejcOJ— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) February 28, 2021