The Milwaukee Bucks are officially back in the playoffs. They’d do so by reeling in another victory against the Brooklyn Nets, 124-118.
The back-and-forth action would pick right back up where it left off on Sunday, with both teams clashing it out in the opening quarter. Paced by 14 points by Jrue Holiday, the Bucks commandeered a single-point advantage after the opening quarter, 34-33.
After Holiday and Middleton came out strong, Khris Middleton started making his presence felt in the second quarter. Foul trouble would cause Giannis to spend much of the quarter riding the bench, but it wouldn’t impact the Bucks’ lead. Rather, they’d expand on it by closing out the half with an 18-7 run and take a 66-58 lead into the locker room.
Every time Brooklyn would get it close, the Bucks were able to provide an answer and protect their lead. But in the final minute, Brooklyn would re-capture an advantage and take a lead into the final period of regulation.
Nearly immediately after the Nets snatched the lead, the Bucks had an answer of their own. Led by Khris Middleton, the Bucks would go on an 18-1 rampage that granted them a double-digit advantage midway through the quarter. That run would prove to be the nail in the coffin for the Nets, as they couldn’t muster enough to come back. Milwaukee would earn the 124-118 win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with a team high 36 points on 11-of-32 shooting. Khris Middleton also played a nice second fiddle, concluding his outing with 23 points. Those 23 points were also matched by Jrue Holiday. Bryn Forbes also came off the bench with a helpful 14 points.
For Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving had an effective night, registering a game-high 38 points. Kevin Durant would also pour in 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting.
What Did We Learn?
For the second game in a row, Giannis Antetokounmpo asserted his dominance. He’d record a team-high 36 points on 11-of-30 shooting. He’d muscle his way through the Brooklyn defense once again, and administered another effective shooting performance from beyond the arc with four threes. Should Milwaukee meet the Nets in the playoffs, look for Giannis to continue feasting against this defense.
Milwaukee really utilized offensive rebounds in the win.
In his postgame availability, Steve Nash indicated how the offensive rebounds that Milwaukee got really told the story of how this one went. When it was all said and done, the Bucks would reel in 15 of them — and none of them would be bigger than the one that Donte DiVincenzo facilitated in the final seconds, which would prove to be the dagger. The Bucks are already a tough team to beat, and when they’re given second chances, they become even more difficult to top. The hustle stats are definitely apparent and they really helped Milwaukee in this one.
Bryn Forbes showed his worth in this one.
We all know the type of shooting Bryn Forbes can bring when he’s out on the floor, and last night, he proved that once again. He’d come out and contribute with 14 points off the bench, which really helped this Bucks offense jump start itself. It sort of provided a glimpse into the type of energy that he may be able to bring in the playoffs, especially when the Milwaukee is down or just lacking that spark. He’s the type of shooter that can score a flurry of points in the blink of an eye and one that the Bucks will surely continue to rely on moving forward.
Khris Middleton continues to be severely underrated.
Man, Khris Middleton was simply massive in this one. Whenever the Bucks made any run in this game, Middleton seemed to be involved in the middle of it. He’d put the final touches on a 23 point performance with some key baskets down the stretch in Milwaukee’s 18-1 run and was a crucial purveyor in the win for Milwaukee. It’s been great to see him get in a groove as of late, as he’s really hitting his stride at the right time. This was his sixth consecutive 20+ point performance. He also did quite the job defending Kevin Durant, which is no easy task. Look for him to try and continue to ride the wave tonight vs. Washington (perhaps another 50 point performance is in the cards?)
Bonus Bucks Bits
- First, watching the Bucks is going to get a lot more different with Jim Paschke announcing his retirement following this season. If you haven’t watched this yet, make sure you do:
Like I said, it’s tough to imagine a new voice as play-by-play for the Bucks. Who do you want to get the gig next?
- Bobby Portis returned to the lineup following a one-game absence with a stomach flu. In 16 minutes played, he’d tally just five points. Look for him to have his fingerprints over the box score against the Wizards.
- Last night was May 4th, so the Bucks celebrated with Star Wars Night. A fan then achieved the accomplishment of naming 36 Star Wars characters in 30 seconds. That would be more than Brook Lopez, who only named 26.
- As I mentioned earlier, it was another effective night of shooting for Giannis. He’d stroke home four threes on the evening. Not only would he be connecting from deep, he’d also get DeAndre Jordan to bite on quite a few shots, which was interesting after he gave him so much space on Sunday. If Giannis continues this level of play, my oh my.
- Man, was Donte all over the place. He’d finish with 15 rebounds on the evening, and none bigger than how he got his fingers on the basketball near the end of the game to really seal the deal for the Bucks. Despite his offensive struggles, he’s still finding a way to make an impact on the game.