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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Sacramento Kings Summer League: Cashing Out

The Bucks leave Vegas in the red, but who cares

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2023 NBA Summer League - Milwaukee Bucks v Sacramento Kings Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

An admirable second-half comeback attempt led by rookies and reserves came up just short as the Bucks will complete Summer League with a 2-3 record on the heels of a 92-84 loss to the Kings. Second-round pick Chris Livingston led all scorers with 22 points while Jalen Slawson was the high man for Sacramento with 17. Box Score

The Kings separated a bit early thanks to a bevy of threes and by capitalizing on Bucks turnovers, leading by 6 after one. Though Milwaukee started hitting from deep in the second quarter, Sacramento stayed hot and took a 53-42 advantage into the locker room thanks to a 16-5 edge in points off turnovers. They actually held a twenty-point lead late in the second, cut into by a quick 9-0 run to end the quarter thanks to a couple A.J. Green threes.

After half, head coach Adrian Griffin switched up the starting lineup with quick effects. Though they shot only 42.9% in the third including 0/7 from behind the arc, Milwaukee ratcheted up the defensive intensity big time, outscoring their opponents 22-12 and entering the final period down just one. The Kings reestablished control but couldn’t get their lead into double digits as the Bucks battled back to within one point twice, including an 8-0 run in under thirty seconds right after the 2-minute mark in the fourth thanks to three consecutive Kings turnovers. Ultimately, they closed out with a 7-0 run of their own to send the Bucks home from Las Vegas with three straight defeats.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Today’s starters: Andre Jackson Jr., Livingston, Tacko Fall, A.J. Green, and Iverson Molinar. Griffin elected to sit MarJon Beauchamp and Lindell Wigginton, the team’s two leading scorers in Vegas. Drew Timme also did not dress.
  • Green made his most extensive appearance in Summer League with 15 minutes, mostly in the first half. He hit two of his five attempts, four of which came from deep, plus a couple free throws for eight points. A steal was his only other box score number.
  • Livingston looked great with 13 second-half points, though he struggled at the line going 4/7 there. Doing much of his damage inside, he showed some solid touch within ten feet that you love to see from a wing and had this very athletic finish through traffic:
  • Jackson didn’t play as much in the second half but racked up three steals as the Kings got careless with the ball. He took just four shots, hitting two of them for four points. He also had four rebounds, steals, and turnovers. His active hands-on defense might be his most NBA-caliber asset right now:
  • Sacramento turned the ball over sixteen times in the second half, allowing Milwaukee back into the game multiple times as they conceded 19 points off them. It flipped that 16-5 points off turnovers number in their favor through half to a 19-8 surplus for the Bucks. The final line: 22 turnovers for the Kings against 19 for the Bucks, with an even 24 points scored off them for each team.
  • As mentioned, Griffin replaced 2/5th of his starters to begin the second half, replacing Molinar and Fall with E.J. Montgomery and Craig Randall II. Those two played the entire third quarter and after two and a half minutes, Omari Moore came in for Green.
  • Moore was by far the most impressive Buck to me in the second half. He hasn’t done much at all in Vegas and didn’t distinguish himself through two quarters today, but his on-ball defense and disruption frustrated Kings ballhandlers from the minute he entered. That established a very pesky defensive tone that spread among his teammates in the third quarter. Not to be outdone, he looked good driving to the rim and finding his teammates too as Milwaukee’s de facto point guard during much of the half. His seventeen and a half second-half minutes really justified why Milwaukee gave him a two-way, in my opinion. He finished with seven points on 3/4 from the field (one three), four boards, two assists, three tunovers, and a game-high five steals.
  • Jazian Gortman is someone I’ve seen Bucks fans get excited about, but nothing at all about him has stuck out in Summer League to me so I don’t see the hype. There were rumors he would get the Bucks’ last two-way spot, but if you ask me, Moore’s size (6’6” vs. 6’2”) and experience (22 years old vs. 20) advantage, plus his nice second half today on both sides of the ball makes him the clear choice for developmental minutes at the NBA level. To be fair, before today I didn’t see the hype about Moore either.
  • Craig Randall II shot seventeen triples and only connected on three of them. He went 1/13 from distance in the second half as part of his 6/22, 20-point outing. Woof. He did have that nice dime to Bey above, though.
  • Former Badger Aleem Ford had 9 points on 3/5 shooting, all from deep and all in the first half. Nice to see him still plying his trade after a couple years between the Magic’s G League affiliate and the Puerto Rican league. He was the only King that played who I’d heard of; 54th overall pick (s/o Mamu) and two-way man Slawson was their only draftee this year.

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