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Milwaukee vs. Brooklyn: Bucks Hold Off Nets, 118-113

Brook Lopez tallies a career-high nine blocks in the win

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

In a very, very odd game of basketball, the Bucks were able to overcome the feisty Brooklyn Nets, 118-113.

The three ball was falling nicely for Milwaukee in the opening quarter, paving the way for them to achieve a double-digit advantage. They’d connect on nine threes in the period, the last of which coming from Jevon Carter before the horn sounded. That hot shooting gave them a 37-20 lead going into the second quarter.

Milwaukee’s absurdity from the 3-point line carried on throughout the second quarter. Every player that saw the floor besides Pat Connaughton buried a three. All in all, they sank 14 threes in the first half which led to a momentous 64-47 lead at the break.

The Nets seemed to wave the white flag right out of the gates in the second half, opting for an entirely new starting lineup. However, it ended up working, as Brooklyn whittled things down to single digits just over four minutes into the third. It was clear that their unique approach was paying off. Going into the fourth, Milwaukee’s lead sat at just seven points, 87-80.

Brooklyn wouldn’t give up without a fight. They’d cut things to two points down the stretch, forcing Milwaukee to make some timely shots. However, defense eventually prevailed for the Bucks, and they were able to check the box with a victory, closing things out with a 118-113 victory.

Bobby Portis finished with a game-high 28 points on a crafty 11-of-15 shooting. Brook Lopez was massive on both ends of the floor, finishing with nine blocks (a new career-high) and 24 points.

Patty Mills was the lead guy for Brooklyn, casting forth 23 points off the bench. Cam Thomas also mixed in 21 points of his own off the bench.

The Bucks will now travel out west for a road trip. Things start Saturday night in San Francisco against the Warriors.

Three Observations

The 3-point ball was sizzling for the Bucks.

This game was over in the first quarter — and it was thanks to the scorching shooting from Milwaukee. When all but one player who has played hits a three in the first half, it’s likely that things are going quite well — and that was the case for the Bucks. Ball movement was crisp, players were in their positions, and shooting strokes were on. However, it was a totally different story in the second half, as they connected on just five threes after knocking down 14 in the first two quarters. Postgame, I asked Bud what he attributed the differentiating factor from Brooklyn’s defense between the two halves:

“Their effort, their contests was good. I’m sure we’ll look and feel like there were some we got some good looks and didn’t make them. But I thought their defense, their activity, their effort to scramble and cover was good.”

Have a game, Brook Lopez.

It’s safe to say that the big man was everywhere for Milwaukee, as he registered a new career-high in blocked shots with nine on the evening. Whenever he was needed, he stepped up. It’s been the common theme we’ve seen with him and his time in Milwaukee. Maybe he shined more because Giannis wasn’t out there swatting shots away with him, but wow. Postgame, he was humble as ever, giving kudos to all of his teammates, especially the guards. We were also given this hilarious moment at his postgame availability:

It went on a little longer after that:

Lopez’s nine blocks is tied for the second-most in a game in franchise history (and only one behind the franchise record of ten). HIs nine blocks are also the most in the NBA since Rudy Gobert had nine on March 22, 2021.

It was an off-night for Khris Middleton.

After having his best game of the year, Middleton was unable to replicate his performance. He received the start yet again last night, but didn’t do much with it. In 29 minutes of action, he registered just 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc. It’s not worth fretting over yet, as he’s clearly still finding his bearings. Remember, this is just the second game that he’s started. There are also a handful of games left in the regular season. There’s definitely still time for him to find his groove and his shot before the playoffs arrive.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • We saw a classic Patty Mills game against the Bucks last night, as he came off the bench and erupted with 23 points. He may be the worst Bucks killer in the league (right up there with Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell).
  • Khris Middleton threw an absolute dime that went the length of the court to Bobby Portis for a lay-up. It wasn’t your typical pass either, as he heaved it like he was throwing a football. This is something we’ve seen before, but again, we were reminded that Middleton is indeed QB1.
  • Jacque Vaughn going to different lineup to start second half was a brilliant plan. It was clear that the Bucks struggled with those adjustments, as that’s when the Nets really made their comeback. Kudos to Vaughn for making those changes.
  • Speaking of Jacque Vaughn, his pregame media availability was one of the most unique sessions I’ve ever seen in my seven years of Bucks coverage. In addition to addressing every reporter by their first name, he gave insightful answers while mixing in some jokes and humor. I definitely recommend watching it if you have a chance.
  • The Bobby/Brook Show continues to roll on:

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