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Bucks vs. Bulls: Milwaukee Gets Back in the Win Column

Giannis’ 35 points leads the way in victory over Chicago

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In a clash against their divisional foes, the Milwaukee Bucks got back in the win column with a 118-109 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Game Summary

Milwaukee began things on a 9-0 run, to which the Bulls responded with eight consecutive points of their own. The Bucks then pieced together a 15-2 run to really solidify an advantage. Bobby Portis exploded for 11 points off the bench to provide a massive ignition. The big quarter for Milwaukee culminated with a spinning fadeaway 3-pointer from Giannis at the end of the frame. Going into the second, the Bucks surged out to a 35-18 lead.

A flurry of Chicago threes forced the Bucks to immediately call a timeout to begin the second quarter. The offense that was so potent in the opening quarter felt as if it was just sleepwalking throughout the second. The Bucks were able to find their footing thanks to the 3-point shooting of Malik Beasley, which kept the separation decent between the teams. At the break, Milwaukee was up 59-49.

An abysmal start to the half would transpire for the Bucks, as Chicago immediately rattled off a 7-0 run. However, that wouldn’t serve as the theme of the quarter. The Bucks were able to compose themselves and settle back into things, opening up a double-digit lead in the blink of an eye. Going into the fourth quarter, Milwaukee held an 83-74 lead.

Some clutch shooting and playmaking from Khris Middleton helped pad this one late. The Bucks’ lead was never in true danger of evaporating, but the Bulls did hang around in annoying fashion. At the final horn, Milwaukee scraped out a 118-109 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo served as the leading scorer in this one, toppling in a game-high 35 points. Bobby Portis filled out the sheet next, totaling 19 points off the bench.

Nikola Vucevic finished with 26 points, which served as the game-high for the Bulls.

The Bucks now hit the road to return to Canada and face off against the Raptors again Wednesday night in Toronto.

What Did We Learn?

Bobby Portis never fails to dazzle. A lot of the time when consistency is brought up among this Bucks team, Brook Lopez is the first player that’s referenced — and for good reason. However, Portis is right behind him. There’s never a game that he takes off. He’s always going 110 percent and helping in some fashion. Last night, that was exactly the case. His strong closing to the first quarter was huge, as he poured in 11 points in a timely manner, helping set the course for what lay ahead in what would shape out to be a feisty at times game. All in all, he scored a season-high 19 points and hauled in a season-high 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the year. He’s now reached double figures in scoring in nine of 10 games this season. You can always rely on Bobby providing the energy and last night that helped the Bucks yet again.

Three Things

Jae Crowder is out for eight weeks. Now what?

The story surrounding pre-game was the news that broke moments before Adrian Griffin’s presser at 5:15 p.m. CST:

NOTE: It’s not actually the former President of Basketball Operations of the Warriors performing the surgery, but rather Dr. Bill Myers.

Yikes. That’s absolutely crushing news for the Bucks. They were already reeling on the defensive side of the ball, and this just serves as salt in the wound. It’s especially is disappointing to see after Crowder was really beginning to put together a strong start to the season:

What’s next? Two young Bucks will begin seeing the spotlight shift to them. MarJon Beauchamp and Andre Jackson Jr. are two players who will surely receive an increase of action in lieu of the veteran Crowder. Pre-game, Griffin provided his insight on the two of them:

A lot of tests lay ahead, as the Bucks will head to Toronto and face the same offense that torched them the last time the teams met. It doesn’t get easier when you see LaMelo Ball and Luka Doncic lurking in the schedule either. Buckle up, Bucks fans.

Those young Bucks performed nicely.

While MarJon and Jackson didn’t pad the stat sheet like crazy, they did have a positive impact and played a role in helping the Bucks win. MarJon knocked down a pair of threes and Jackson Jr. was all over the court like he typically is, including setting some nice screen.s They were both themes in the postgame availability among everyone, and I really dove into what everyone is seeing from them — starting with Dame and finishing with Giannis. You can follow along on my thread of tweets here:

Khris Middleton is now the fifth highest scorer in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks.

He’d finish with 13 points on the night, moving into fifth place on the Bucks’ all-time scoring list. He’s now only 36 points away from passing Sidney Moncrief (11,594) for fourth place. When you really think about it, it truly is quite the journey for Middleton, and he acknowledged it in his presser:

It’s going to be fun to see where he ends up on that list once his career wraps up.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • In a pre-game ceremony, Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis presented Andre Jackson Jr. with his NCAA championship ring. A neat moment for the kid who won a title at UCONN. It was also his birthday, so yeah, not a bad gift at all.
  • Dame struggled with his shot (1-of-9 from deep), but was able to get to the free throw line, tallying some attempts there. Griffin made a good point that his ability to do that is really going to help this team late in the playoffs.
  • You know the defense is bad when Marques is tweeting this out:
  • This was a wild way to close out the first quarter:
  • This assist from DeRozan was absolutely bonkers:

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