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Milwaukee vs. Los Angeles: Jrue Holiday Shines Again in Bucks Victory

Well, it wasn’t pretty...but a W is a W!

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks split their series in Los Angeles by defeating the Lakers, 112-97 on Wednesday night at the Staples Center.

What We Learned

Brook Lopez was more than serviceable defensively against Los Angeles and spoiled the debut of newly signed Laker, Andre Drummond. Granted, Drummond did depart in the second half due to what appeared to be a toe injury, but when he was matched up against Lopez, he was not having a good time. Andre shot 2-of-6 from the floor and was clearly bothered by Lopez’s combination of strength and length and couldn’t get a clean look at the rim.

Brook is going to see an uptick in minutes due to the absences of P.J. Tucker and Bobby Portis and last night was a much better display than his performance against the Clippers in their latest loss. In all Lopez did a little bit of everything contributing four points, five rebounds, three assists, and three blocked shots (plus-15).

Three Observations

Pay Jrue Holiday all of the money! For the second night in a row, he controlled the tempo on both ends of the court. He had zero problems defending Dennis Schroder and picked his pocket multiple times and defended the passing lanes beautifully. I am not sure what I was more impressed with in the victory, his offensive game, or defensive prowess? Offensively, Holiday was cooking early by hitting jumpers and getting to the basket using his lower-body strength. It was a stat sheet stuffing performance from the point guard from UCLA who ended with 28 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals in 34 minutes. Whenever it appeared the Lakers would re-capture momentum, Holiday was poised and kept things under control. This is what separates this season’s Bucks teams from prior years...a point guard who is able to keep things under control and dictate the pace when things appear to be going south. I can’t wait for the postseason.

Giannis Antetokounmpo waited for the game to come to him and rarely forced the issue throughout the win. Like Middleton, it was a relatively quiet start to the game for Giannis and it looked like he was trying to get others involved, which I have zero issues with. Now, nine turnovers is never ideal and there were times where he did try to fit in passes while driving to the basket that just did not happen. He was better in the second half at protecting the ball, though. However, Giannis has also mastered the quick chest pass which often leads to free throws or open shots for his teammates. Without Anthony Davis or LeBron James, there was not much the Lakers could do to stop Giannis and they often had Andre Drummond switched onto him...we all know how that ended. He still finished with a 25/10/4/3/ line in 36 minutes with the slow, turnover-filled first half.

Khris Middleton got off to a horrible start but picked up the slack nicely throughout the game. Now, it was not all rainbows and roses for Middleton against the Lakers, but he played an integral role in Milwaukee maintaining a double-digit lead throughout the second half. Khris’ fourth quarter featured missed jumpers and lazy turnovers but he found his rhythm in the second quarter by hitting tough jumpers and getting involved by facilitating for others. His struggles in recent games are concerning but it is imperative that he continues to find a solution to navigate through these valleys. There was a possession in the fourth quarter where Markieff Morris clamped him on the perimeter and Middleton just gave up and handed the ball off to Donte who had to hoist up a prayer with the shot clock winding down. This is the time for him to figure it out while teams are throwing extra pressure at him during the regular season. He finished his night with 17/6/8 in 36 minutes.

Bonus Bits

  • The Lakers kept Talen Horton-Tucker instead of acquiring Kyle Lowry and then offered Schroder a massive extension. LMFAO
  • Donte DiVincenzo added 13/5/2/3 in 31 minutes of action and continues to be a lethal catch-and-shoot three-point shooter.
  • Bryn Forbes made three triples in 20 minutes while Pat Connaughton contributed 5/5 in 27 minutes.
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo is going to continue to be a thing until both Portis and Tucker return.
  • That three from Mamadi Diakite to end the first quarter was a thing of beauty.
  • Los Angeles made eight threes in the first quarter and finished with only 10 makes for the game

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