In a clash of two thrilling teams, the Bucks were able to knock off Ja Morant and the visiting Memphis Grizzlies by a 126-114 victory.
At the end of one, the Bucks would find themselves up by six over Memphis, 36-30. They road 50% shooting from 3-point line and connected on five threes to help send them in front to start this one off. Giannis exploded for 15 of Milwaukee’s 36 opening quarter points.
Early in the second quarter, Milwaukee would see their lead expand up to double digits. In fact, they’d flirt with a 20 point lead at times, as their 3-point shooting kept getting hotter and hotter. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies? They’d end the half shooting just 17.3 percent from the perimeter. That’d be the main difference in the Bucks owning a double-digit halftime lead, 61-47.
The Grizzlies would scratch and claw their way back into this one a little bit, led by the play of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. They’d hang a 40 spot on the Bucks in the quarter, but even despite that, Milwaukee held on going into the final period of regulation, 96-87.
The Grizzlies would nearly complete a massive comeback in the final moments of this one. However, the Bucks would bend, but not break. Led by Giannis in the final moments, they put Memphis to bed and pulled away in the last seconds of this one with a 126-114 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 33 points, 15 rebounds, and just three assists away from a triple-double. Khris Middleton aided the effort as well, putting forth 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He’d go just 1-of-6 from three, but was still able to make a strong impact.
Ja Morant was the main spark for Memphis, pouring in 33 shots, though it was on 27 shot attempts. Jaren Jackson Jr. was next in line with 29 points of his own.
It’s always thrilling to watch Giannis close out games.
When the Grizzlies cut this one to three, there was no doubt about who the Bucks were going to go to. It was Giannis — and man, did he hit some tough shots. First, it began with a dunk through the Memphis defense. Then, it was a hook shot that absorbed some contact. Then, he finished off his run with a nifty fadeaway. All of those put Milwaukee in a fantastic position to close this one out and secure a hard fought win. With that performance, it was evident that Giannis is even more and more able to close out games. Now, I’m not saying that he lacked that before. I mean, this is the man who scored 50 points in Game 6 of an NBA Finals, for crying out loud. But still, that part of his game is always something he’s improving on.
3-point shooting was one of the main reasons why the Bucks won this game.
The Bucks held a 50% shooting line from the 3-point perimeter after the first quarter of this one, and that’d be an advantage they held over the Grizzlies all evening long. Now, Milwaukee wasn’t shooting at a blistering rate by any mean (they shot 13-of-37 when it was all said and done), but when you look at Memphis’ 3-point shooting, you can decipher it was a difference maker. On the contrary, the Grizzlies would go just 9-of-40 from the arc. When it all said and done, it’s pretty easy to see that those missed shots from the Grizzlies did create an impact on this one.
The Bucks did a great job finishing this one off.
Down the stretch, the Grizzlies made a last ditch effort to try and steal this one away from the Bucks. However, due to Giannis & Co. bending but not breaking, they were able to fend off the feisty Memphis team. In his postgame availability, Bud attributed it to the team’s executions:
“They just executed on both ends. I think it’s always we got a stop. You know they missed a couple shots — the wing or the corner three was a big miss, I think we got a couple free throws off our position. I can’t remember if it was Khris or who it was but you know, we executed. Giannis hits the two big shots. I think it was just execution on both ends.”
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Coming off a season-high 34 points, Khris Middleton has been in a groove lately. He’s been averaging 25.4 points, 7.2 assists, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 48.2% from the field and 51.4% from three during this recent stretch. That trend would continue last night, as he constructed a brilliant 27 point performance outing.
- Giannis has been using his left in the passing department lately. He’s been whistling passes with it and it’s been a thing of beauty. It’s always a joy watching him dish out the basketball.
- Jrue was finally back last night. He was on a minutes restriction, but it was promising see him closing out the quarters. He’d conclude his outing with nine points on 2-of-8 shooting.
- It’s always so awesome when Wes hits a three. The crowd, the arrow, and then Put On by Young Jeezy starts blasting on the Fiserv Forum speakers.
- I heard that Pat was bleeding once again. I don’t have video footage or anything, but that was the rumor. I was just up in the press box, so feel free to drop any references in the comments.
- Khris Middleton earned his 3,000th career rebound last night. Pretty neat milestone for him.