Without Giannis (resting his knee) to annihilate the league’s worst-defense, the Milwaukee Bucks escaped an improving Sacramento Kings team with a narrow 129-128 victory: their third straight to move to 32-17. This one came down to the final minutes, despite Milwaukee holding the lead most of the night.
A back-and-forth first quarter ended with Milwaukee up 31-28. More of the same in the second quarter; Jrue Holiday was hot all half and went into the locker room with 21, as Milwaukee held a slim 61-57 advantage.
The Bucks were able to build some small leads of up to 10 in the third and led 99-91 as Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis began to heat up. Khris Middleton shook off a terrible (1/12) start early in the final period as Milwaukee held off Sacramento until the closing minutes. Outscoring the Bucks 37-30 in the fourth, the Kings were able to cut the lead to 2 with under 3 minutes left on a Buddy Hield putback dunk, and former Raptor Terence Davis tied it on a triple with 2:06 to go. Then Holiday—who was having a quiet second half—scored 5 straight points in 33 seconds, likely saving the game as the Kings again got it down to 2 with 3 seconds left. But Sacramento had to foul, and Pat Connaughton made 3 of Milwaukee’s final 4 free throws, just enough to eke out a one-point win as Davis hit another three at the buzzer.
Holiday stayed sensational with a season- and game-high 33 points and 11 dimes while Lopez also scored a season-high 26 with a perfect 11/11 in the paint. Terence Davis (7/10 from deep) and De’Aaron Fox each had 27 to pace the Kings.
Stat That Stood Out
Milwaukee was again outdone from three, but they were able to make up from it by converting in the paint, facing another poor interior defense. They shot 62.9% inside the arc; though the Bucks were outscored 20-8 from inside in the fourth and were just +12 over the entire game, Sacramento was only 53.3% on twos.