In what will go down as one of the most unlikely results of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks dug themselves out of a 24 point first quarter hole to defeat the Dallas Mavericks, 129-117. Doc Rivers is no longer winless as head coach of the Bucks. Rejoice!
The Mavericks got off to a white-hot start from three, shooting 7/8 from three in under of five minutes of play — with almost every look open or wide open in part due to the doubles Milwaukee threw at Luka Dončić and miscommunication. While the Bucks did a valiant job to keep pace at 16-25, the offense would ground to a complete halt while the Mavs kept rolling after a brief Luka-less interlude from a rolled ankle. Dallas up, 20-44.
After continuing to slam their heads against the wall with poor paint shooting, Milwaukee would get into something of a brief rhythm off the Khris Middleton-Giannis Antetokounmpo pairing. To try and snap the deadlock, Doc Rivers would break glass to get AJ Green onto the floor and was immediately repaid for his act of faith with a Green mid-ranger. A complete disasterclass in game management by Dallas to close the half gave the Bucks a shot, and needed threes by Green and Lillard (at the buzzer) left the score at 60-65.
Just like that, Milwaukee evaporated a huge lead in about four minutes of game time. Game back on.
That furious run to close the second would bleed right into the third with Milwaukee’s offense coming online and grinding out possessions. A Jae Crowder behind-the-back pass to Lillard on a busted play exemplified the momentum swing (it was nuts). Lillard and Giannis would start to put things together in a big way offensively with their mix of outside shooting and inside dominance we’d entered the season expecting to see on a nightly basis. Bucks miraculously up after three, 93-92.
Physical play exemplified the start of the fourth for Milwaukee with a Giannis dunk in traffic pushing the lead out to three, followed by his erasing a Dallas transition opportunity the other way. With margins tight, the final frame turned into a game of execution, and the Bucks flashed their mettle time and time again answering each time the Mavs reeled in the short lead a little. Dallas would run out of gas first, though, while Milwaukee kept their foot on the pedal. Our reward: An extremely entertaining 129-117 come-from-behind road win.
Stat That Stood Out
Three personals and a technical foul
That’s what Jae Crowder was able to rack up in seven brief minutes of play in the first quarter. He fell asleep the second he stepped on the court to get called for a foul off an inbounds, then got hit with some ticky tack stuff before letting the refs know how he felt about things. Understandably, he would ride out the rest of the first half on the bench from there. To be honest, it was a bit of a ref show tonight. That’s basketball!