They came (to the Pacific Time Zone), they saw (the Portland Trail Blazers), they conquered. The “they” in that sentence is the Milwaukee Bucks, who took home a massive W on the front end of a back-to-back on the road. There’s not much about the game narrative itself that’s worth writing, so I’ll let the Bucks social media team take the wheel for me:
Bucks reach a new season-high scoring 137 points in their win over the Trail Blazers. pic.twitter.com/Q88rXNhqhx— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 6, 2022
Greg Monroe might not be here a long time, but he’ll get playing time. The Moose Reunion Tour got off to a great start tonight, as Monroe played 15 minutes and produced 6 points and 6 rebounds, yet the box score does not illustrate the impact he had on the team. Yes, he’s huge, and yes, he’s got deceptively quick hands. But the most important thing he does is preventing excessive Giannis-at-center minutes. By rotating in regularly with Bobby Portis, the Bucks simply didn’t need to go long stretches without a traditional 5 (if we’re being lenient by defining Bobby as a “traditional 5”) which translates directly into less wear-and-tear on Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee’s defense got some more reps running an aggressive scheme. Portland is a shell of themselves right now, but Jusuf Nurkic is still a tough cover for a team that lacks significant size in the front court. Without Brook Lopez, Milwaukee is that kind of team, so seeing frequent intentional double-teaming in the post during the game’s competitive portions carried some interest. Then again, this is what blew the Nuggets game last week open early and even got Giannis and Jrue Holiday to go on-record speaking against the unnecessary help on D. Just because it worked tonight (Portland shot below 50% from the field and under 33% from deep) doesn’t mean that anything was fixed, it just means that doubling Nurkic is vastly preferable to doubling Nikola Jokic.
Bobby Portis, the People’s Champ. People loooooove Bobby Portis. They just do. Fans in the crowd sparked up a “Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!” chant at least twice (possibly more often), in the fourth quarter the camera caught a pleasant conversation between Portis and some courtside fans (wearing Portland apparel!), and this was just another day in the life of Bobby Buckets. Oh, he also managed to put up a season-high 30 points and 5 assists, going 11-for-13 from the field and canning 6 of 8 from downtown. Get this dude in the Three Point Contest, NBA.
"Tonight was a big time win to start the road trip off."— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) February 6, 2022
Bobby Portis with @melaniebricks after making six triples in the @Bucks win over the Trailblazers.
Hey @NBA , listen to @olskool888 and get @BPortistime in the Three-Point Contest! #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/Vu5h0YLVDP
Bonus Bucks Bits
- There were a number of reunions tonight; Pat Connaughton, Wes Matthews, and Rodney Hood all in Portland again, Tony Snell hitting threes against his old team, Bucks Twitter going batty for Greg Monroe…but one reunion didn’t get a chance to see the court, and that was Eric Bledsoe, who just joined Portland after being traded from the Clippers (who the Bucks play tomorrow night). When asked about Bledsoe, Mike Budenholzer didn’t hold back:
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer on new Blazer Eric Bledsoe: “Great guy. I love Bled. Really special human being. An incredible defender. An elite, elite-level defender. I think they’re getting a very good player. He’s one of my favorite people. I love him.”— Sean Highkin (@highkin) February 6, 2022
- Once a regular occurrence under Coach Bud, the Bucks’ starters all logged fewer than 30 minutes this evening. Jrue Holiday led the way with 27 minutes, and no one else topped 25.
- Wes Matthews didn’t have his best game as a Buck last night, and part of it is that he didn’t stick to his forté. A number of possessions involved Matthews pump-faking the ball and putting it on the deck, and few of those possessions ended well for the offense. If you’re gonna do it, Wes, I suppose tonight was the night for it.
- He’s coming for that top spot. Just...slowly.
- Mike Budenholzer continues to explore Donte-at-PG lineups. In other news, I continue to despise Donte-at-PG lineups. They just don’t do anything. I’ll admit that I haven’t looked up the stats when DiVincenzo is the lead guard in the lineup…but they can’t be good numbers, right?
- It’s important to have traditions.
Breaking: Pat Connaughton just got hit in the face.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) February 6, 2022
- Portland doesn’t have a ton of bright spots right now, but Greg Brown III might be one of the more explosive leapers in the league today. Reminiscent of Derrick Jones Jr, Brown III skied for a dunk attempt late in the fourth quarter that drew deserved oohs and ahhs from the fans remaining in attendance.