In the Hawks’ only visit to Fiserv Forum this season, the Bucks were able to defeat their Eastern Conference Finals opponent 124-115 behind 43 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
After his fantastic outing vs. the Thunder, Giannis Antetokounmpo wasted no time getting this one started. He’d erupt for 17 points in the opening frame, four of which came from a pair of nasty dunks. It helped Milwaukee cook up a double-digit advantage after one, 37-26.
Milwaukee’s lead would not be in any danger throughout the second quarter. Instead, they’d only create more separation. Following Antetokounmpo’s strong first quarter, the torch was passed to Bobby Portis, who finished the half with 19 points. At half, the Bucks led by a score of 68-54.
Atlanta would start to make it a bit closer in the third quarter, as Kevin Huerter started to get on a little roll of his own. However, the Bucks still led, but things were more interesting going into the final period of regulation as they carried a 93-86 lead.
Atlanta would continue to nip at Milwaukee’s heels, keeping it single digits and Bucks fans on edge throughout the fourth. However, in the end, the stellar play from Giannis Antetokounmpo proved to be too much for the Hawks to handle, and the Bucks prevailed with a 124-115 win.
Giannis would lead all scorers in this one, posting a big 43 point performance with 12 boards. Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis both made their impacts felt, totaling 23 points each. Grayson Allen and Jrue Holiday both scored 11 points apiece.
Trae Young led the way for Atlanta, concluding his outing with 27 points.
Giannis keeps doing Giannis things.
Not only has the stretch been good post-All-Star break for Khris Middleton, but Giannis Antetokounmpo as well. He’s averaging well over 30 points a game in this stretch, and after totaling a massive effort on the road vs. Oklahoma City, he replicated that with 43 point performance. In addition to that, he was quite active on the boards, as he tallied 12 rebounds. He also found the knack to score from the free throw line, knocking down 12 shots from the stripe with 17 attempts. He’s a special player, and always provides a special night. Here’s what Bud had to say after the game regarding his recent success.
“I think he’s mixing in a few 3-point shots. Those add up, he drilled a couple of those. The free throws...I think the way Jrue and Khris are playing opens the court up for him. The way I think other guys are helping us, Bobby’s just shooting the lights out and all of a sudden you have more attention to those guys and that’s more space for Giannis and I think it all works together.”
Milwaukee did a nice job containing Trae Young.
You always know that Trae Young will get his points — and he did last night in the end, but not to the degree he has been known to. He’d finish with 27 points on the night, but 20 of those came in the second half. The Bucks did a stellar job keeping him at bay in the first half, as he was clearly limited in his ability to have an impact. It’s one of the reasons as to why the Bucks were able to cruise with a double-digit advantage throughout the majority of the half. Bud attributed the aggressiveness towards his as the main reason they were able to keep him in check and gave a big shoutout to Jevon Carter. It just continues to show how important he has been to this team.
It wasn’t the biggest of nights from Khris Middleton, but he still keeps doing his thing.
Coming into tonight, Khris Middleton was averaging 26.8 points per game on 50.9% shooting post-All-Star break. He wasn’t able to completely meet that number last night, but came awfully close with a 23 point showing. His ability to complement Giannis just keeps shining. On a night where Jrue Holiday didn’t have his best performance (just 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting), it’s big when the other two members of the Big Three are able to provide supportive nights. As mentioned above, Bud mentioned how crucial it is for those other guys to pay well because when they do, it opens up space for Giannis to do his thing.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Yet again, Jordan Nwora received meaningful minutes late in the fourth. It’s somewhat becoming a pattern as of late, and really speaks to how well he has been playing, even though he may not be tallying high point totals.
- Bobby Portis really came alive. As Bud mentioned, he continues to shoot lights out. Not only did he post 23 points, but he also hauled in 15 total boards. Just another testament to his ability to hustle on every single night.
- I mentioned Jevon Carter a little bit up above, but he keeps having positive nights. He will never be a high scorer, but the energy he brings on the defensive side of the ball will always be there.
- This was a nice win for the Bucks. It marked their sixth victory in a row, and one that they will appreciate before going out west.
- Last, Bobby Portis summed up Giannis pretty well with this:
Bobby Portis on Giannis: "That ain't normal, bro. The things he does are not normal."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 10, 2022