The Milwaukee Bucks started a new era with Doc Rivers coaching his first game for Milwaukee as they faced the defending champion Denver Nuggets. Denver fans got a matchup of two MVP candidates, something they couldn’t get a few days ago, and their team delivered with a 113-107 victory.
The Bucks brought the game to the Nuggets early, and with some hot shooting, they were able to storm out to an early 27-13 lead. The Bucks seemed to have an extra pep in their step and led by thirteen with three and a half minutes left in the first quarter. However, the Giannis Antetokounmpo + bench lineup allowed Denver in the game with a 12-0 run to end the first quarter with a 26-25 lead. The second quarter was an even battle, with the two teams trading buckets. Brook Lopez was finding his range, hitting some threes to give the Bucks a slight lead. The Nuggets wouldn’t go away and found their way back in the game to have the two teams tied at halftime with 56 points each.
The second half began with Milwaukee committing two turnovers early, but the Bucks recovered, getting a quick 7-0 run. After a few minutes of Benny Hill-eqsue basketball, Denver got on track and took a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The teams decided posters were the choice to start the fourth as Denver got one on an alley-oop, and Giannis followed it up shortly after. After struggling most of the game, Bobby Portis provided a brief spark to get Milwaukee back into the game. Denver’s offense was too much, though, and the Bucks couldn’t find the scoring needed to pull in front late.
Stat That Stood Out
26 was the number of points in the paint Milwaukee had tonight. While the Bucks shot 41% from three, Milwaukee could not get much in terms of easy looks inside. Part of that was the design of Denver’s defense to limit Giannis having too much of an impact, while another factor was missed shots at close range, with Bobby Portis being the leading culprit.