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Milwaukee vs. Denver: Nuggets Obliterate Bucks, 136-100

Jokic and his 15 assists frustrate Milwaukee

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday Funday? That didn’t exist for the Bucks last night, as they were blown out by the visiting Denver Nuggets, 136-100.

Denver would hold the lead after one quarter of play in this one, 33-30. Nikola Jokic immediately flashed his passing ability as a big man, as he wrapped up eight assists in the blink of an eye. Grayson Allen led the Bucks in scoring after one, tallying eight points, including a pair of threes.

The Nuggets would pace themselves ahead of the Bucks throughout the second quarter. In addition to the impact Jokic made, Denver found strong contributions from Aaron Gordon (13 pts) and Bones Hyland (11 points off the bench). That helped them capture a 65-57 advantage at halftime.

Things would start to crumble fast in the third for the Bucks. Denver carved up Milwaukee, quickly gaining a double-digit advantage in the third. They’d do that thanks in large part to the 12-5 run that created massive separation, as they found themselves up 103-81 going into the final quarter of regulation.

From that point on, it’d only get uglier for Milwaukee. The Nuggets kept having their way and ultimately, Mike Budenholzer waved the white flag. The final result would not be pretty, as the Nuggets left Milwaukee with a massive 136-100 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo once again led the way for the Bucks, posting a game-high 29 poitns. Jrue Holiday was next in line with 14 of his own.

Aaron Gordon was the leading scorer for Denver, concluding his evening with 24 points. Nikola Jokic had his fingerprints all over the box score in this one, totaling a stat line of 18 points, 15 assists, and nine rebounds.

Milwaukee will look to get back on track on Tuesday vs. the Washington Wizards when they visit Fiserv Forum.

Three Observations

Once again, the Bucks struggled with their 3-point defense.

A few games ago, we saw the Cavaliers torch Milwaukee from deep. The same happened again last night, as the Nuggets ended up shooting above the 50 percent mark, going 23-for-43 on their attempts, which was good for a 53.5 percentage. It’s been clear that this is starting to develop into a concerning pattern for the Bucks, and Bud was asked about it in his postgame availability:

“Yeah, I would say on a night like tonight, I can’t remember who it was that did something similar...it’s got to be significantly better and we gotta face it and own it...and shooting 50%, 60% from the field, 50+ from the 3-point line, you know credit to Denver first. They played great but lot to desired from our defense.”

Milwaukee struggled to keep possession of the basketball.

One of Bud’s talking points in his media availability was the turnovers that Milwaukee coughed up. Denver’s defense clearly made life difficult for the Bucks, as they turned the basketball over 15 times compared to the Nuggets’ eight. As I mentioned, that was something that Bud highlighted in regards to the Bucks’ poor play:

“Yeah, you know I think when it was for the first two and a half quarters, it felt like turnovers have been an issue for us to date and it continued tonight. And then after that, I think it was a similar not good enough offensively, but the turnovers certainly aren’t helping us and it felt like when it was still kind of both teams within reach and touch of one another, it was too many.”

Nikola Jokic is a joy to watch.

We all know how good the defending MVP is, and he put it on display last night. He didn’t tally a high point total, but his fingerprints were everywhere in this one. He’d finish with an influential stat line of 18 points, 15 assists, and nine rebounds. I mentioned in my Rapid Recap that his passing was the most fun to watch. As members of the media, we are located up in section 109. Last night, Jokic was making passes to open players that I couldn’t even see. Just an absolute incredible basketball player.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Once again, Milwaukee struggled in the third quarter. They were already down entering the third, but that was the decisive quarter that really tilted things Denver’s way. It continues to be the Achilles’ heel for the Bucks this season. Sooner or later, they’ll need to break out of that bad pattern.
  • Denver’s FG% was surreal. As the game progressed, so did their shooting. All in all, they’d end up shooting 60.2 percent from the floor. It’s tough to win any basketball game when your opponent is shooting that well.
  • I mentioned the 15 assists from Nikola Jokic. However, he wasn’t the only one facilitating the basketball. The rest of the Nuggets squad was as well. They’d total 39 on the evening, which is the second-most in a game this season by a team (the Grizzlies had 41 earlier this season).
  • If you’re a Marquette fan and were at this game (and stayed until the end), Markus Howard gave you something to smile out. In the dying embers of the game, the Marquette product connected on all three of his 3-point attempts and finished with nine points.
  • Giannis had just two assists last night. That was his lowest since December 6th.
  • #OldFriend Bryn Forbes was feeling it. He didn’t score an astronomical amount of points, but he hit a pair of threes and totaled 14 on the evening.
  • The Bucks finished 7-8 in January. Here’s a tidbit from Justin Garcia on that:
  • This is the first time somebody has ever tried to steal my phone during media availability: