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Bucks vs. Hornets: The Patrick Beverley Experience

Beverley’s debut showcases every reason why the Bucks traded for him

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Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Ever since the Milwaukee Bucks traded away Jrue Holiday, they lost their defensive edge. To address that, the Bucks traded for one of the feistiest defensive players in the league with Patrick Beverley. The first results look good, as his first appearance was a 120-84 blowout win against the Charlotte Hornets.

Game Summary

The Bucks came out of the gates looking to attack the basket, with the Hornets forced to start Nick Richards. In the first 4:15 of the game, the Bucks had eight points in the paint and were able to complement that with two three-pointers from Damian Lillard and Malik Beasley as they got out to a 14-6 lead. Charlotte would start to chip at the Bucks’ lead as Brandon Miller and Miles Bridges started to find their groove. After Bridges hit a three-pointer with 3:59 left to bring the game within six, Milwaukee put down the clamps and shut out the Hornets for the rest of the frame. Newcomer Patrick Beverley made an impact in his first appearance off the bench in the green and cream, hitting a three in the corner 28 seconds into his Bucks’ tenure. A Bobby Portis three pushed the lead to 31-17 heading into the second quarter.

Miller looked to get Charlotte back into the game early in the second quarter, as he hit a floater to get things rolling before following up with a three-ball later to trim Milwaukee’s lead down to nine with 8:29 left in the stanza. After a timeout from Doc Rivers, the Bucks went on a 15-6 run, with Bobby Portis and Malik Beasley each hitting a shot from beyond the arc. Milwaukee went up by 20 with 2:55 left in the second quarter, forcing Clifford to burn another timeout for Charlotte. The Bucks continued to pour it on from deep in the final two minutes, as Beasley and Brook Lopez hit back-to-back threes, expanding the Bucks’ lead to 27. Beasley would hit his fifth three-pointer of the half at the buzzer, sending the Bucks to the locker room with a 28-point lead, 66-38.

Beasley continued his impressive three-point shooting to begin the third, hitting two more inside the first two minutes of the frame. It was all part of a 13-4 Bucks run to open the second half, propelling Milwaukee ahead by 40 points with 8:16 left in the third. The Hornets would go on a mini-run of their own after the opening salvo from the Bucks, outscoring Milwaukee 10-6, with Miller driving to lane twice to finish some tough layups for Charlotte. After scoring just eleven points on 4-for-11 from the field in the first half, Lillard turned it on in the third with fourteen points and two assists on 5-for-7 shooting. With the Bucks already up 38 with less than a minute to go in the frame, the Bucks took out Lillard for Beverley, who made an instant impact. Beverley nailed his second three-pointer of the game and because of his pressure defense, Andre Jackson Jr. was able to get a steal. After a Nick Smith Jr. three, the Bucks went into the fourth quarter up 99-63.

Doc Rivers emptied his bench in the fourth quarter, putting in MarJon Beauchamp, TyTy Washington, and fan favorite Thanasis Antetokoumpo with the Bucks up 36. The loudest the crowd got during the final quarter was when Antetokoumpo made a tough layup to put Milwaukee up by 40 with 6:09 to play. Beauchamp added four points in his short stint off the bench, as did Thanasis. The benches finished the game as the Bucks went into cruise control, taking it by a final score of 120-84.

The Bucks have two days off before facing the defending champion Nuggets on Monday, looking to get even after losing to them two weeks ago.

What Did We Learn?

The Bucks are taking steps to be who they want to be. After the acquisition of Damian Lillard by the Bucks, the expectation for them (from the outside and within) was to be an NBA Finals contender. There have been glimpses of that team throughout the year, but there have also been moments where they haven’t looked the part. Before tonight’s game, Lillard said that Doc talked to the team about that notion.

“He just checked us on what we say we want to do versus what we’ve been doing and it was to be a team that is considered a contender and what we want to accomplish,” Lillard said. “We got to start acting like it and I think that starts with us. It has nothing to do with anybody else. No matter who we were playing tonight it was important for us to set the tone and start taking the steps to who we see ourselves as.”

The Bucks responded by allowing the Hornets to score just 17 points in the first quarter on 5-for-21 shooting. The question will remain if the Bucks can bring that same effort and energy to a team of the same contending caliber that the Bucks see themselves as. The first test comes on Monday as they host the defending champion Denver Nuggets at Fiserv Forum.

Three Bs

Bobby Portis

It was the typical performance you would expect on a good night from Bobby Portis. The three-point shot was falling, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, and he grabbed seven rebounds, two of them being on the offensive glass. Portis was key in helping blow open the game for the Bucks during the second quarter when he had five points, two rebounds, and a steal during a 12-4 Milwaukee run. That run gave the Bucks a 50-31 lead, and Charlotte never mounted any comeback after that.

Malik Beasley

A night after having one of his worst performances of the season on both ends against Minnesota, Malik Beasley had one of his best games of the year, going 7-for-9 from three-point range. While acknowledging the impressive shooting performance, head coach Doc Rivers was more impressed by Beasley’s performance on the defensive end.

“Malik tonight was phenomenal; I think most people would say shooting, and we will say defense,” Rivers said. “We talked about that if you do your job defensively, the basketball gods will reward you with open shots, and that happened tonight for him.”

Beasley said it all came from a change in his mindset into this game compared to Thursday night against the Timberwolves.

“Last night (Thursday) I knew I had a chance to break the record (most games in a season with five or more three-pointers in Bucks history), and I put too much pressure on myself thinking about my shot,” Beasley said. “Tonight, I did the opposite; I focused on defense and not getting screened. Shout out to coach Opp (Bucks assistant Josh Oppenheimer); he challenged me to see how many times I could not get screened, and as Doc said, the basketball gods will find a way.”

Patrick Beverley

The Patrick Beverley effect is already here. It only took 28 seconds for Beverley to make an impact with his new team on the court, as he knocked down a corner three and ignited the fans inside Fiserv.

“He’s just positive energy. He holds his teammates and himself accountable (and) he really just wants to win, and I think our guys see that,” Rivers said. “I bet they’ve learned a little bit about him already, it’s not just BS talk, he’s trying to get everyone to buy in and win.”

Former rival turned teammate Damian Lillard commended Beverley’s energy and experience.

“He brought what he brings to the game, he brought energy, he brought edge and just experience,” Lillard said. “There were times where he directed some action offensively just that happens over the course of a game to tell two guys to do this and do that and they can be executed.”

Pat Bev finished the night with six points on two three-point shots and four assists. Beverley made himself known, and for a player who is as passionate and outspoken as he is, it was no surprise.

“The way I go about things I’m not going to make everyone happy, I’m gonna upset some people the way I hold myself to a high standard and I expect everyone to do the same,” Beverley said. “My approach is very strong until you really get to know me but once you get to know me you’ll understand the only thing he [Beverley] wants to do is win.”

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Coming into tonight's game, Giannis leads the league in points per game in the second game of a back-to-back, with 35.5 points per game.
  • Malik Beasley passed Ray Allen last night for the most games in a season with five or more three-pointers in Bucks history with 13 games this year.
  • The Bucks lead the league in points per game in the second part of a back-to-back, averaging 127.9 points per game.
  • Giannis’ 12 points and 11 rebounds at halftime is the 23rd first-half double-double of his career.
  • The mind games between Malik Beasley and Damian Lillard have begun, as the two are participating in the three-point contest at All-Star Weekend. “We teammates to the end, but we ain’t teammates on that day we’re not,” Lillard said. “I told him this was going to be my fourth time doing it and I’m interested to see how he handles the environment, it’s not a typical basketball environment. I’ve seen a lot of people go up there and be uncomfortable just with the environment, the music, not getting a good warm-up and you got all these celebrities right behind you talking and it’s just you up there.”
  • Beasley wasn’t phased by the comments of his future three-point competitor. “I’m not worried about that, he’s trying to get in my head right now, that’s why he said all of that,” Beasley said. “I’m gonna be focused in and I got some techniques that I’m ready to go.”
  • Who doesn’t love a good Giannis mean mug?
  • I think Beverley has a future as an assistant coach or head coach in the NBA when he retires. He’s already got a head start in game one with the Bucks. Doc later said that Beverley called a play that Rivers hadn’t used since they were on the Clippers together. “One thing he can’t do is call a play from when I coached him on the Clippers, that made no sense tonight,” Rivers said. “The other four guys were looking around like ‘what?’ He called Oklahoma, I haven't had that play in my playbook since I was coaching him with the Clippers, (but) they ran it which is even crazier.”
  • Before the game, Beverley went to Twitter to hopefully get Cam Payne to take his physical so the trade could be completed and Beverley could play last night against the Hornets. The reason why Bev wanted to play tonight is just like the man himself, honest and direct. “I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t want (the) Denver Nuggets to be my first game,” Beverley said. “Let me see what’s going on with Charlotte, let me get back out there and routine up under me.”

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