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Milwaukee vs. Denver: Bucks Snag Huge Victory, 125-112

Milwaukee wins despite not having Jrue Holiday

Milwaukee Bucks v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In a very impressive manner, the Milwaukee Bucks knocked off the Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City, 125-112.

This one would start off with a bit of a buzzkill, as it was reported that Jrue Holiday would miss the action due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Denver would pile on threes right from the get go, and it’d be the largest ingredient in them taking a lead into the second quarter. At the end of 12 minutes, they’d end up converting on eight treys, good enough to provide them a five point padding, 42-37.

However, the Bucks would keep firing right with Denver. It really seemed as if both teams didn’t know they could score a 2-point basket. How high scoring were things early on? Let’s say we reached 100 points in just about 15 minutes. A scoring drought for the Bucks would last just over 4:30 in the later part of the second. However, Milwaukee wouldn’t find themselves in too deep of a hole. They’d head into halftime trailing 62-59.

The Khris Middleton Experience came to life in the third, and so did the rest of the Bucks. They’d embark on a 15-0 run to tilt things in their favor, but then that Nikola Jokic guy also came to life. There’d be some back-and-forth, both scoring wise and jawing wise, but the Bucks would carry a 93-88 advantage into the fourth.

Middleton’s strong play continued in the fourth, and ultimately, was probably the biggest reason the Bucks won. Whenever the squad needed a tough shot, he was there to answer. He’d deliver the dagger with a beautiful alley-oop delivery to Giannis, one of his 12 assists on the evening. It’d help propel the Bucks to a massive 125-112 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in the scoring column with 30 points. Khris Middleton was next in line with 29 of his own.

Nikola Jokic was a beast for Denver, putting forth a 35/12/6 performance — just four assists shy of a triple-double.

What Did We Learn?

We learned that Khris Middleton is absolutely massive. He’d total 29 points on 9-of-16 shooting, go 11-of-11 from the charity stripe, and dish out 12 assists. Whenever the Bucks needed him most, he delivered. What an all-around gutsy performance from the All-Star (who could very well be earning a spot in the starting lineup). The most amazing part of his performance? He went 0-for-5 from deep. It was incredible how he found ways to get his fingerprints on things without connecting from beyond the perimeter.

Three Observations

Even without Holiday, the Bucks showed they could win a shootout.

When Jrue Holiday was ruled out prior to tip-off, it seemed as if the Bucks could easily crumble and fold to the Nuggets. However, that was the exact opposite of what happened. MIlwaukee was still able to find ways to poke holes in the Denver defense and never really skipped a beat in terms of their offensive output. We all know how vital Holiday is to this team on the defensive end, and ultimately, that’s where they missed him the most. However, the fact that they went out and won at altitude without their starting lineup is a massive statement.

Nikola Jokic is scary good.

I mean, my goodness. The things this man can do on the basketball court is nearly unfathomable. He can shoot. He can drive. He can rebound. He can pass. The court awareness Jokic exhibits is simply unmatched, as he’s the definition of a floor general. During the game, a conversational topic was floated in the Brew Hoop group DM — is Jokic the best passer currently in the game? It’s definitely debatable. LeBron is definitely up there, but the skills Jokic possesses is unreal. Thank goodness the Bucks only have to play him and the Nuggets twice a year.

Donte had his moments in this one.

Sure, his 13 points were the most flashy. However, I was impressed with what Donte showed last night. He connected on a few shots from deep and was able to be active in other areas besides scoring, as he fell three rebounds from a double-double. However, yet again as it is so many times with Donte, he made an impact on the defensive side of the basketball. Late in the game, he was able to intercept a Denver pass that really helped the Bucks hammer the nail into the coffin. It’s always great to see DiVincenzo get a strong performance under the belt, as his contributions really make this team go a long way.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • The Bucks had some defensive struggles without Holiday. It was clear that their other guards couldn’t pick up the slack and firepower that Holiday constantly brings on the defensive end. Let’s hope things aren’t too serious regarding him, because the better he can be back on the court for Milwaukee, the better.
  • Early in the game, Brook Lopez took a really awkward-looking floater. As you probably know, it didn’t go in. Just was an awkward shot and I’m wondering if anybody else remembers it.
  • With the absence of Jrue Holiday, Bryn Forbes found himself in the starting lineup. He contributed quite soundly, going a nice 6-of-9 from the floor and tallying 15 points on the evening. He’d also light up three 3-pointers, a continuation of his recent hot streak from deep. Should Holiday remain out, it will be imperative for Forbes to continue stepping up.
  • At multiple times, Torrey Craig found himself on Jamal Murray. Obviously, Craig was going up against his former team and he stepped up to the occasion. His defense was stellar last night.
  • Last, I want to talk about Denver’s jerseys. I’m a big fan of their re-branding, but man, do I miss those sky blue uniforms. They honestly may be my favorite NBA jerseys of all-time. I’m always a sucker for baby blue.