In a frustrating game, the Milwaukee Bucks knocked off the Chicago Bulls in OT, 133-129.
Brook Lopez was feeling it in the first quarter. He’d bury a pair of threes which helped the Bucks piece together a 16-4 run. At the end of the opening 12 minutes, Milwaukee held a 37-32 lead, thanks in large part to the center’s ten points.
The Bucks would be on the verge of a double-digit lead for much of the second quarter. Coby White and DeMar DeRozan kept Chicago in it with their scoring outbursts. Going into the third, Milwaukee sat in front 74-65.
Even amidst the contract and trade talks, DeMar DeRozan can still rise to the occasion. He’d be the thorn in the Bucks’ side throughout the frame, carrying his point total to 29 through three quarters. A Jevon Carter 3-pointer at the end of the period sliced Milwaukee’s lead to two, 91-89.
It’d be an irritating fourth quarter for the Bucks. DeMar DeRozan continued to pour baskets in, along with Coby White. They’d go back-and-forth, ultimately ending up with a DeRozan jumper to send this one to overtime.
In OT, Giannis & Co. came alive to slam the door shut. It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but the Bucks got the job done, crossing the finish line with a 133-129 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led things for the Bucks, posting 32 points, 14 of which came from the free throw line. He’d also haul in 12 boards and post six assists.
DeMar DeRozan finished as the game-high scorer in this one, totaling 41 points on 14-of-30 shooting. Coby White was also lethal for the Bulls, rattling off 33 points.
The Bucks now face the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum.
What Did We Learn?
Once again, we learned that even when a key player is off, this Bucks offense can still get the job done. On a night where Damian Lillard struggled to find his shot, Milwaukee still worked around things and found a resolution. Lillard shot just 3-of-17 from the floor on the evening, but confidence remained high in the locker room. He told us how he knows how his skill level will translate to stronger nights and shrugged this off. He also expressed confidence in his teammates, knowing they’ll still be able to accomplish an explosive offense even if he’s off.
The Bulls kept Giannis at bay to begin this one but it didn’t matter.
Just like the other outing against Chicago, it seemed as if they were making things tougher for Giannis by limiting his shots. All in all, he took just 13 shots on the night — a number that’s certainly low compared to his season stats. However, he was still able to create an impact on this one. First, he got to the free throw line — and was effective, ultimately going 14-of-18 from the stripe. Then, like Lillard, said that he doesn’t have to worry if there are times where he doesn’t have things going. He trusts his teammates and knows how talented they are and will rely on them in times like that, truly showing just how lethal this team can be on offense.
Malik Beasley provided a nice spark.
He didn’t contribute much late, but his shot was certainly on in this one. He’d finish with five threes made on eight attempts, concluding his night with 19 points. He’s shown flashes in multiple games where he provides a well-needed boost from deep, which ultimately translates into other areas of his game. Again, it’s so imperative to have a shooter from deep finding the stroke when other key players like Lillard are struggling. Last night, Beasley was one of those players. It ended up being his sixth time he’s made 5+ threes this season, which is tied for the fourth-most in the league.
AJ Green continues to string together strong outings.
Another one of those players? AJ Green. He constructed yet another impressive game, burying four threes. He’d finish with 12 points in 14 minutes played. He continues to grow confidence and it’s showing. Adrian Griffin has told us how much it means to him to see AJ out on the floor and his hard work paying off. He’s not just receiving minutes in garbage time, either. These are legit minutes that he’s taking advantage of. It’s very neat to see him piecing all of it together.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Khris Middleton finished with 13 points in 33 minutes of action. Pre-game, Griffin told us that the range he’s currently at is around 28-30 minutes. He ended up receiving a tad more than that and was quite effective. We didn’t get the chance to speak to him postgame, but a nice solid outing for K-Midd as he earned his double-double of the season.
- Bobby Portis also made strong contributions. He came off the bench and posted 17 points. After voicing his concerns in the locker room following the loss in Vegas to the Pacers, he flirted with a double-double by pairing up those points with seven rebounds.
- It’s going to be interesting to see where DeMar DeRozan ends up. There are rumors surrounding his trade destinations, contract status, and more. However, one thing that’s certain? He can definitely still score the basketball.
- The Bucks are now 8-0 when scoring 130-points this season. They also had a season-high 34 assists, marking the fifth time it has dished out 30+ assists this year. They’re now 5-0 when they post 30+ assists.
- Ayo Dosunmu had the Tony Snell stat line. In 27 minutes played, he had 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks and a 0% FG. Yikes!
- Last, this was fun to see:
Damian Lillard getting shots up (with a familiar face in the building) pic.twitter.com/VyplzWItcn— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 11, 2023