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Milwaukee vs. Brooklyn: Bucks Win Thriller, 117-114

Giannis’ 49 points headlines the scoring

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In a Sunday matinee at Fiserv Forum, the Bucks rode a massive 49 point performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo to secure a massive win, 117-114.

An absence of scoring outside of Milwaukee’s Big Three really dampened things in the first quarter, opening the door to Brooklyn for a double-digit advantage for much of the period. Add in the turnovers that the Nets were able to manifest and it didn’t get any better. A Khris Middleton three at the end of the first sliced the Brooklyn advantage to 37-28 going into the second quarter.

Milwaukee would flip the script in the second quarter, outscoring Brooklyn 34-22. They’d utilize a nice, crisp style of offense that tilted things back in their favor. That was good enough to culminate in a three point advantage for the Bucks, 62-59.

In the third quarter, Giannis would flip the switch to something special. Does anybody remember that power-up from Backyard Basketball where whatever you shot, it went in because you had the flaming ball? That’s exactly what happened with Giannis, as was absolutely exploiting DeAndre Jordan. Going into the final quarter of regulation, the two teams were neck-and-neck.

And what a thrilling quarter that final period was. The tension was high throughout, but ultimately, it’d come down to the Bucks being up by three in the waning seconds. A Kevin Durant 3-point attempt would bounce off the front win, providing Milwaukee the massive win, 117-114.

Giannis Antetokounmpo earned the top scoring performance in this one, finishing with an astonishing 49 points. Khris Middleton put forth quite the respectable showing as well, concluding his afternoon with 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including some big shots down the stretch.

Kevin Durant was impressive for Brooklyn, also surpassing the 40 point plateau. He’d tally 42 points on the afternoon. Just an incredible basketball talent.

What Did We Learn?

We learned just how fun a game between these two teams are. I sincerely hope that these two teams do end up meeting down the road in a playoff series, because seven games of this would be absolutely incredible basketball. The back-and-forth action and high octane offenses will surely create a series filled with tension and drama, just as today’s game was. Let’s hope it comes to fruition.

Three Observations

Giannis. Antetokounmpo. What words can even describe this man?

It’s tough to come up with adjectives to describe his performance today. It’s safe to say that this was definitely one of the best jump shot performances he’s ever had. Whenever the Bucks needed a basket, Giannis answered. That run in the third quarter was simply unreal. He literally could not miss, and was exploiting DeAndre Jordan any opportunity he had. You knew he was itching to come back and have a strong performance after missing the last couple of days, and boy, did he ever. How incredible was his performance? Take a look at this from Positive Residual:

Khris Middleton shined as well.

After scoring 22 points vs. the Bulls on Friday, Khris Middleton put forth another effective performance. He’d etch another 20/5/5 game (26 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists). That marked his 16th game of the season with a 20/5/5 performance, which is the most of his career. It really just epitomizes how dangerous the Bucks can be when both he and Giannis are cooking and scoring at the pace that they are. Middleton also entered today’s game as one of just seven players in the NBA averaging 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game while shooting better than 40% from three this season (S. Curry, K. Durant, P. George, N. Jokic, Z. LaVine, J. Randle).

Jrue Holiday also had his fingerprints all over this one.

Now, Holiday may not have scored too many points in this one, but he was a reason as to why the Bucks earned the W today. He’d finish with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting, but late in the game, he’d have two massive offensive rebounds that gave the Bucks another opportunity to score. You know he’s probably frustrated for missing those two free throws late, but you’re beginning to notice that Holiday does a lot of the little things that can easily go unnoticed, but are huge in the end of it.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Now this is a fun way to start a basketball game...

Middleton was asked about this postgame and immediately gave credit to Giannis, talking about how it was a hell of a catch. Here’s the full quote:

  • The Bucks were without Bobby Portis due to a stomach illness. Milwaukee was able to win without him, but you know that they’ll gladly welcome his offensive outburst off the bench on Tuesday.
  • I still can’t get over the offensive talent that Kevin Durant is. We were really robbed of something special when he was out during his injury. The tough shots he makes look nearly effortless, and is just aesthetically pleasing to watch. Budenholzer was asked about the approach in guarding him, but in a nutshell, he just tipped his cap to his natural talents and discussed how difficult it is to limit KD’s offensive outputs.
  • To keep the Durant discussion going, here’s a thought. Thanasis on Durant? Thoughts? I was sort of interested in seeing a possession of that at some point today. Ultimately, it never happened — but perhaps that might occur on Tuesday?
  • At many times during the game today, DeAndre Jordan was just daring Giannis to shoot the three ball — and Giannis took advantage. When it was all said and done, Antetokounmpo finished with four threes. Like I said earlier, this was one of the best shooting performances we’ve seen from him. The other game that comes to my mind is last year vs. the Lakers when he connected on seven threes.
  • It was a rough day for Donte DiVincenzo. In 30 minutes played, he’d fail to score a point (he went 0-for-5 from the floor). He’ll look to rebound in Tuesday’s matchup.
  • Last, during today’s game, the Bucks were offering vaccines to those who haven’t received their shot. If you haven’t gotten your shot yet and are coming to a Bucks game soon, you can get it up in the Panorama Club. Let’s all do our part in crushing COVID!