The Milwaukee Bucks kicked off the 2023 NBA Summer League campaign with a matchup against the Denver Nuggets, a team fresh off of its first championship run in franchise history. Despite a lethargic start on the offensive end, the Bucks put together some productive possessions to close out the opening quarter with just a 22-21 deficit. The second quarter seemed a little more balanced throughout, and the Nuggets took a slim 45-43 lead into the locker room. Milwaukee finally separated in the third quarter, ending the stanza with a 16-2 run that gave the Bucks a 69-63 lead heading into the fourth. In the final quarter, Denver made things interesting momentarily, but the Bucks made the plays necessary to hold on for a 92-85 victory.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- It was a story of two halves for MarJon Beauchamp. After a relatively rocky shooting performance in the first half, the 2022 first-rounder came out of the locker room on a tear, scoring 18 points on 7-for-9 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep. He finished with a team-leading 23 points.
- It took the Bucks a little while to get comfortable offensively in the first quarter. Jackson Jr. and Beauchamp had some really ugly bricks from downtown, and every Tacko Fall free throw attempt looked like his first time ever holding a basketball. It wasn’t all bad in the early stages, though. Nico Mannion had a couple of shots to keep the team afloat and the second unit seemed to find its rhythm in the latter half of the quarter.
- Speaking of Mannion, he also had a pretty solid showing. Even though the aforementioned 3-pointer was his only make from deep on six attempts, he still finished with an efficient 16 points.
- Jazian Gortman—who went undrafted out of Overtime Elite—hit a pair of smooth midrange jumpers in the first quarter. He finished with 13 points on an efficient 5-of-7 from the field in just 12 minutes. Granted, he also had five fouls and three turnovers. Anyone who paid attention to the Thompson twins in the draft process realizes that OTE prospects are a relatively new commodity, but Gortman is definitely a guy to pay attention to against the Suns tomorrow. Gonzaga legend Drew Timme also made the most of limited playing time, scoring seven points on just four total shots off the bench.
- Jackson Jr. gave Bucks fans a LOT to be excited about in his professional debut. The 36th overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft had a string of highlights, including a driving dunk, an assist from one rim to the other, and a pair of blocks at the rim on consecutive fastbreaks late in the game. It wouldn’t be shocking if it takes him some time to start seeing big minutes in the regular season, but today’s performance signaled that his development may be ahead of schedule.
Dre is hosting a block party in Vegas! ️ pic.twitter.com/epZxRI0Fkv— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 7, 2023
- The broadcasters made a “Tacko Tuesday” joke in the second quarter. Everyone laughed.