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Milwaukee vs. Oklahoma City: Jevon Carter Carries Bucks Past Thunder

What a weird game.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

No Giannis Antetokounmpo or Jrue Holiday make for weird times folks, and that’s exactly what we got on Wednesday evening as the Milwaukee Bucks pulled out a 136-132 double OT win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jevon Carter was the standout, flying all over the court on both ends for a career night in points and assists.

Milwaukee headed into the second period all tied up at 27 with OKC, surviving on a heavy diet of three-pointers to keep pace. Each team felt comfortable enough to hit shots in the second, but neither wanted to make the other feel bad, so they kept the tie game going into halftime at 55-55. At last, after three quarters the tie streak finally ended, as a George Hill buzzer beater brought the Bucks within 84-87 as the final period began. Milwaukee finally found some consistent scoring for much of the fourth quarter, but they started to unravel in the final two minutes as the Thunder went on an 8-0 run to tie it up. Jevon Carter’s last second jumper fell flat as it went into OT.

A gutty OT period nearly ended in gutting fashion as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (a 30% 3-point shooter) nailed a stepback triple to give OKC a 126-125 lead, but Brook Lopez was fouled on an inbounds with 0.6 seconds left before he split from the charity stripe. Double OT folks! From there, OKC couldn’t keep pace with Milwaukee’s breakneck scoring output, as they secured 10 points to the Thunder’s six in the final five minutes, snagging a victory in a game I wouldn’t have predicted they’d win coming in.

Three Pointers

Jevon Carter put on the Superman cape to single-handedly make this game watchable through the first three quarters. Double-teamed before halfcourt. 21 points in the first half. Running picture-perfect PNR with Serge for dumpoff dunks. His activity shooting off the bounce, swerving through defenders to finish at the rim and setting a career-high in assists (12) by setting up his teammates were the most enjoyable part of this evening’s contest. It’s a testament to his doggedness for recognizing he was going to be the primary offensive engine and never leaving high gear. The fact he did it all while also hounding SGA on the defensive end made it all the more impressive. Jevon also set a new career high in points with 36.

A tale of two halves for MarJon Beauchamp. Forced into creating more off the dribble in the absence of offensive initiators, Beauchamp looked a lot like his Summer League self turning it over and getting stripped whenever he put it on the deck in traffic in the first half. He also had three fouls in his first ten minutes of play. It was a credit to him then for bouncing back in the second half with key triples, offensive boards and his usual defensive adequacy. Bud trusted him in 2OT after not playing in the first OT, and he came through with a few key defensive rebounds and an offensive board. Once again, inconsistency is typical for a rookie, so now it’s up to him to string together quality halves, quality games, etc. He set a new career high with 19 points.

If you thought the offense has been a little clunky even with Giannis and Jrue, have I got some news for you: it’s worse without them. You knew it would be tough sledding in this one once it came through that Giannis and Jrue would be gone, but holy cow is this team bereft of creators with their current spat of injuries. It usually devolved into either the Jevon Carter or Grayson Allen show from the perimeter as Bobby could find his isolation rhythm. The veteran talent that fits so seamlessly when the Bucks big three is doing the brunt of the ball work starts to look pretty lifeless in their absence. I’ve seen a lot of April all-bench Bud games, and I would’ve said that was more thrilling than this game up until the fourth quarter when the team finally found some rhythm through penetration, kickouts and dumpoffs for buckets inside. AND YET, I should also eat some of my own words as this netted out as the fifth best offensive performance of the season (pts/possession) per Cleaning The Glass. Again, WHAT A WEIRD GAME.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • MarJon Beauchamp got his second start of the young season in the absence of both Giannis and Jrue.
  • Kudos to Grayson Allen for getting a rear-pursuit block on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after getting switched onto him early in the first.
  • Jordan Nwora drove hard baseline and while going up for a dunk had the ball blocked twice, resuling in a wedgie. That seems like such a Nwora play...and he really could’ve used a basket there. He went 1-9 on the night; likely due to the fact he wasn’t in the starting lineup.
  • Milwaukee didn’t make their first two-point bucket in this game until the 1:30 mark of the first period.
  • Forced into creating more off the dribble in the absence of offensive initiators, Beauchamp looked a lot like his Summer League self turning it over and getting stripped whenever he put it on the deck in traffic. He also had three fouls in his first ten minutes of play. It was a credit to him then for bouncing back in the second half with several made triples and an OREB. Once again, inconsistency is typical for a rookie, now it’s up to him to string together quality halves, quality games, etc.
  • I was home alone watching this game tonight. I don’t think I said a word aloud after my wife left for work and I put my daughter to sleep. But then, I saw Mamu deter Luguentz Dort at the rim. So surprised was I that Mamu forced a miss, I broke my silence with an audible “wow.”
  • Marques Johnson joking that Poku is going to turn into Luka 2.0 was just a delight.
  • Given his importance to the team’s offense thus far in the absence of Middleton, I was surprised that Brook Lopez hadn’t been a bigger part of the offense through three quarters. Then, he poured in 13 points in the fourth quarter alone to tide the Bucks over and relinquish their reliance on purely three-pointers. Poku had no answer for him within the paint. I don’t love a 45+ minute game for Brook, but it sure feels a helluva lot better after a win.
  • Milwaukee was 0-5 coming into this game in contests without Giannis, Khris or Jrue. They left it 1-5.