No Giannis? No Middleton? No problem for the Bucks. They’d defeat the Washington Wizards, 114-102.
The Bucks would have no trouble in getting off to a fast start to this one. Right out of the gates, they opened up a double-digit lead. Jrue Holiday got off to another strong start, totaling ten points in the opening frame. It’d be the leading cause of the Bucks’ 32-13 first quarter lead.
Milwaukee’s massive lead would continue through the second. Jevon Carter continued his strong play, connecting on a pair of threes that fueled the Bucks’ lead even more. Even despite the absences of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks had no trouble in establishing dominance in this one. At halftime, they led by a decisive margin, 60-42.
The theme would remain the same throughout the third and fourth of this one — total control by the Bucks. From halftime on, it was just crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s for Milwaukee, though the Wizards made it a little interesting in the closing minutes. The Bucks would end up closing things out with a 114-102 win.
Jrue Holiday led all scorers with 24 points. In addition, Grayson Allen chipped in with 21 points.
Ish Smith’s 17 points off the bench for Washington served as the team-high.
Jrue Holiday continues to show how big he is to this team.
With both Giannis and Middleton out, you knew members of the Bucks would have to step up. Last night, Jrue Holiday did just that. With his 24 point performance, he’s now scored 20+ points in four of his last five games. He continues to make the Bucks wheels go round and round. The intensity that he puts on the opposing guard and defense really limits them, which in turn, can also open things up for others, especially when Middleton and Antetokounmpo are playing. It’s just so huge for the Bucks to have a guard like Holiday that can bring it consistently on both defense and offense.
Jevon Carter has a big role with this team.
It seems like every press conference, something positive is said about Jevon Carter — and for good reason. Last night was another example, as he scratched out eight influential points. In addition to scoring the basketball, he also brought the same intensity that he always brings on defense. His teammates, along with Bud, always preach about his competitiveness. The ability to pick guys up full court is definitely something that the Bucks will be appreciating in a few weeks once the playoffs kick off.
Pat Connaughton’s impact is also huge for the Bucks.
In addition to Brook Lopez’s return, the Bucks also got Pat Connaughton from injury. It hasn’t even felt as if he was injured, as he’s picked right up where he left off. Last night, he dialed up 16 points off the bench. His three ball looks just as effective as it was before he was sidelined — if not better. He also had an insanely athletic save of an errant pass which led to a Serge Ibaka basket. We all saw how big he was last year in the playoffs (remember Mike Breen’s BANG! in Game 4 of the Finals?) and it seems as if he’s on track to have just as big of an impact again this postseason.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- With the victory, the Bucks have now won ten of their last 11 vs. Washington dating back to the 2018-19 season.
- Prior to the game, the lines to get into Fiserv Forum were insane. Everybody wanted their replica championship ring. It was a throwback to last year’s playoff run, and it’s only a matter of time before the Deer District is filled up like that again with the playoffs looming.
- It’s comforting to know that despite being down Middleton and Antetokounmpo, the Bucks had no trouble in taking control of a poor team like the Wizards. So often we hear about how teams can play down to their opponents, but that was not the case for Milwaukee last night.
- Bucks are 18-1 when it shoots 50% or better in a game and 35-3 when scoring 115+ points
- Shoutout to Bonnie Oleson. She was fantastic on the mic in this one.