Giannis Antetokounmpo pulled out all his power for this one, bullying the New Orleans Pelicans for 42 points as the Milwaukee Bucks opened their road trip with a 128-119 win.
A wildly prolific first quarter for Jonas Valanciunas propelled the Pelicans offensively, pouring in 15 of his own, but the Bucks answered with a balanced attack and led 30-27. Joe Ingles made his Bucks debut with just under a minute left in the quarter. Giannis saw what Choo-Choo was doing and felt he had to raise his game, culminating in 26 first half points for him (to 28 for Jonas) while Milwaukee led 66-61.
"Just obviously nice to be out there with the guys."@ZoraStephenson caught up with Joe Ingles at the half after his first minutes in a Bucks uniform. #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/oxbXDc7X58— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) December 20, 2022
Joe Ingles is back and throwing lobs to Giannis and I am intrigued. pic.twitter.com/AohjsrSIYB— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) December 20, 2022
Apparently Brook Lopez grew tired of being excluded from the tall man point parade and pours in 13 of his own in the third as the Bucks expanded their lead 100-90 through the third. The Pelicans pushed within a few points behind Zion Williamson finally finding his rhythm. But with the Pels within three, Jrue pulled up for a cold blooded triple to extend the lead, and a Brook follow-up bucket iced it. Lopez ended with a season-high 30.
Stat that Stood Out
The Bucks came into this game knowing full well that while the Pelicans have some decent perimeter defensive options, there was a side underbelly. They attacked them mercilessly inside, hitting 23-25 at the rim compared to a pitiful 16-33 for the Pelicans. That combo for Milwaukee made up for 3-point shooting barely above 30% (13-40).