The Milwaukee Bucks looked plenty sluggish out of the gates tonight, but Mike Budenholzer must’ve delivered one hell of a halftime speech, as they came through with a 113-98 win on the final game of their road trip. Miami night life won round one in this battle, with the Bucks getting blasted by the Heat’s sun-like shooting in the first, trailing 37-19.
Unfortunately, the Heat didn’t let up in the secong quarter either, capitalizing on momentum-changing plays throughout to lead 62-42. In the third, the floodgates finally opened for the Bucks, as they whittled the Heat down to just a one point advantage, 80-79, heading into the fourth. The final period went as expected, with the Bucks taking control quickly and never relenting.
Giannis Antetokounmpo cared not for the Heat’s attempts at walling off the paint, blasting past them to bully their defense to the tune of 33 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and three blocks. Phew, my fingers are tired just from typing all that. He had some insane reverse finishes tonight with deft touch off the glass, along with his usual ability to finished adeptly through contact. Topping off the night with his only 3-pointer of the evening was a perfect way to end it.
Eric Bledsoe kept his shooting totals low tonight despite Malcolm Brogdon going out for the evening with a heel issue, but still went for 17 points on 12 shots along with three shots. Khris Middleton kept the Bucks in it, particularly in the first half with some timely shooting from deep, ending at 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova was clutch off the bench tonight, firing away for 15 points on 5-9 shooting. Oh yes, the Gods answered your prayers and D.J. Wilson made an appearance, with a solid looking eight minutes where he notched four points.
Justise Winslow was like Bullet Bill in the first half tonight, but turned into Shy Guy in the second while finishing with 20 points. The rest of the scoring was pretty balanced across the roster for Miami, with veteran Dwayne Wade nabbing 10 points on an ugly 5-16 performance.
Stat that Stood Out
Milwaukee’s bench typically averages 31.5 points per game, the 4th lowest mark in the league ahead of just Houston, Golden State and Oklahoma City. Tonight, Ersan and Pat Connaughton really showed up in the second half to end the night at 40 points from the Bucks’ bench, which would rank eighth in the league in terms of bench points per game. Solid stuff for a team that struggled to 1-14 shooting from deep in the first half.