Despite things getting close in the dying embers of the game, the Bucks were able to get the job done against the Charlotte Hornets, 124-115.
Lead changes would be the theme of the first quarter, with both teams leap-frogging one another on multiple occasions. It also wouldn’t be a repeat of the last time these two teams met up, which was when Charlotte came out firing on all cylinders. Last night, the Bucks carved out a 34-27 lead going into the second quarter.
Milwaukee were unable to generate much momentum throughout the second quarter, as their wheels kept spinning in the mud. Instead, Charlotte stuck around thanks to three of their starters registering double-digits in the first half. It resulted in everything being tied at the break, 64-64.
It’d remain a razor-thin margin throughout the third quarter. The Bucks would pull away in the later end of the period, which was enough to give them a slim lead headed into the fourth at 97-90.
The Bucks came out cooking in the fourth. With 9:41 left, a Jevon Carter three put Milwaukee up by 14. However, they did struggle to put the final nail in the coffin, giving the Hornets life late. Ultimately, there wasn’t enough gas in the tank for Charlotte, and the Bucks found themselves victorious with a 124-115 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo served as the leading scorer in this one, tallying 34 on the night. Khris Middleton fell next in line for Milwaukee with 18 points off the bench.
For Charlotte, LaMelo Ball was the standout on the stat sheet, earning a 27/10/11 triple-double. Every other Hornets starter hit double-digits as well.
Milwaukee’s next game is Thursday night when the Los Angeles Clippers visit town for a LATE 9 p.m. CST (!!!) tip-off.
Khris Middleton continues to improve.
Despite continuing to be on a minutes restriction, Khris Middleton continues to make more of an impact. In the third especially, he got going on a run of his own, which helped the Bucks capture momentum and gain some control of the game. He’d end up finishing with 18 points on the night. Here’s what Mike Budenholzer had to say regarding his outing:
“Every minute he plays is just good for us and to have him where we are right now where he’s finishing a lot of quarters or particularly that first or third has been good for us. I think he’s been finding his rhythm and getting back and helping us do whatever he can to help his teammates.”
Khris still hasn’t earned a spot in the starting five just yet, as that was filled by Pat Connaughton once again. However, it does seem as if that may not be too far in the future, especially if he continues to improve upon his outings.
The Bucks need to improve closing out games.
We’ve seen this a few times this season. The Bucks will seem to have a game under control, but ultimately struggle in putting the final nail in the coffin. Last night was just another example. Even though it seemed as if Milwaukee should’ve cruised across the finish line, the Hornets still found a way to float around. Ultimately, the Bucks were able to get the job done, but not after causing some fans to sweat beads of nervousness. It’ll be vital for the Bucks to eliminate this poor habit, especially as they gear up to play more competitive teams in the postseason down the stretch.
LaMelo Ball really is something to watch.
To quote Michael Scott, it’s like he’s playing jazz out there. He’s honestly one of my favorite players in the league to watch. He’s so effortless in how he approaches everything — from shooting, dribbling, and passing — it’s so enjoyable. It was on full display last night, as he notched a triple-double, going off for 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. Also, check out his pre-game routine:
LaMelo making it look ridiculously easy out there. pic.twitter.com/kc0iApNWsb— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) February 1, 2023
I’m thankful he’s on my fantasy basketball dynasty team.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- In his postgame availability, Mike Budenholzer said that he got an update that everyone was fine. This was in regards to this play from Giannis Antetokounmpo:
The Bucks’ next game is Thursday against the Clippers. We’ll see what Bud and his staff ultimately decide to do with Antetokounmpo.
- Speaking of Giannis, he pulled this classic trick out of the book:
- In regards to passes off the glass...
Jrue Holiday just threw an alley-oop pass to Giannis OFF THE BACKBOARD. Antetokounmpo wasn't able to finish it.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) February 1, 2023
- The Bucks were probably hoping that no potential trade partners were watching this game, as Jordan Nwora didn’t have his best outing. He finished with two points on 1-of-4 shooting and looked lost on multiple occasions.
- Are Jevon Carter pull-up threes becoming a thing? We saw that once again last night, and it was a big one — a three that gave the Bucks a 13-point lead. He really seems to have a knack for high leverage situations and if he can continue that trend, that’d be massive for Milwaukee.