After returning back home to Milwaukee following a 104-93 loss in Brooklyn to the Nets, the Bucks couldn’t turn things around against Minnesota. Milwaukee suffered their 24th loss of the season in a 117-95 blowout against the Timberwolves. The win turned out to be Minnesota’s third straight against the Bucks.
Minnesota held a nine point lead over the Bucks at halftime after shooting over 50% from the field and from three. The incredible shooting performance from Minnesota resulted in them also scored 39 points in just the third quarter alone, totaling 103 at the end of the third. Bucks coach Larry Drew post-game said, “We didn’t make shots early in the third quarter, and we just didn’t execute.”
Kevin Love scored 33 points while also pulling down 14 rebounds. This was Kevin’s league-leading 27th double-double of the season. Kevin Martin scored 20 points while draining four three pointers in the game.
For Milwaukee, it was the opposite. Ersan Ilyasova continued his recent slump by shooting 2-for-10 in the game and putting up a measly four points. Milwaukee as a team shot 45% and only managed to shoot 23% from the three point line. Khris Middleton led all Bucks players with 23 points on the night.
Khris Middleton: 23 points, nine rebounds, two blocks. Khris was a bright spot for the Bucks on the night. His shooting thus far has been a consistent spot for Milwaukee. He attacked the rim pretty well in the game and found his shot many times. Larry Drew after the game regarding Khris’ shooting said, “He’s shooting with confidence, he’s shooting within rhythm.”
Ersan Ilyasova: Four points (2-for-10 shooting), three rebounds, two turnovers. Ersan put up another bad stat line after shooting 2-for-11 in the previous game against Brooklyn. He’ll keep getting his shots, but you have to wonder how much longer this can continue before Larry Drew takes him out of the lineup for a while.
Larry Sanders: Nine points, 10 rebounds, 33 minutes. With John Henson not playing, Larry saw extended minutes after only playing in his second game back from injury. Love and Pekovic combined for a total of 52 points in this game, as a rim protector, Larry has to limit them much better. Surprisingly, Sanders did not record a single block in this game.
Brandon Knight: 18 points, five assists, two rebounds. A solid overall game for Knight, nothing flashy, but four turnovers on his stat sheet aren’t very appealing.
Caron Butler: Six points (3-for-11 shooting), four assists, five rebounds. Butler shot poorly in this game and has also struggled since returning from injury. In the previous game against Brooklyn, he shot 0-for-7.
Milwaukee will be in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers for their next game on the last day of the year and won’t return home until January when they face Golden State on January 7th.
As much as I would love to start off this article with a warm and fuzzy Bucks holiday poem, it won’t happen. So instead, I’ll write that good stuff that most want to read: The Bucks took down the Philadelphia 76ers at home 116-106. The Bucks dropped 59 points in the first-half and scored 116 points to finish the game, both were new season highs. Much of those points came from Khris Middleton (27), Caron Butler (22), and Brandon Knight (21).
After missing the last few weeks with a knee injury, Caron Butler returned for Milwaukee tonight and was inserted into the starting lineup at the last minute. Butler played a team-high 39 minutes and recorded his second double-double of the season. Unfortunately, he shot 8-for-21 in the game but still finished with 22 points in his first game back. After the game Larry Drew said, “I think overall he played a solid game, he was keeping a positive. The thing that this team definitely missed from him is his leadership. I had no intention of playing him 39 minutes, but I thought he played a very solid game.”
John Henson was set to start but was pulled from the game before tip due to the knee injury he suffered on Friday night in Cleveland. That ultimately left Larry Drew with only Ekpe Udoh and Miroslav Raduljica as his only healthy big men. Milwaukee allowed 52 points in the paint to Philadelphia – including a game total of 55 points from Thaddeus Young Spencer Hawes. Despite that, Miroslav delivered a career-high 14 points for the Bucks off the bench and ultimately his team got the win. Drew said Miroslov was “the difference” for them tonight.
Brandon Knight has played very well over the last three games. He finished with 21 points, six assists and four rebounds. Drew after the game noted that he believed Knight is playing “more controlled.” This has also led to him not committing a single turnover in the last nine quarters. Overall, despite the eight turnovers on Wednesday against the Knicks, this has been a pretty nice week for Knight. After battling injuries early on, it’ll be fun to see how he grows through the rest of this season once Larry Sanders comes back along with Henson and Ilyasova being healthy.
This game was only the sixth win of the season for the Bucks but they got the job done and snapped a five-game losing streak. Oh, and the occasional Giannis lob took place. One thing that stood to me is that Gary Neal did not play despite Larry Drew saying he was active. Larry also noted that he’s not sure if John Henson will play Monday against Charlotte so more than likely he’ll be a game-time decision once again.
The Bucks travel to Charlotte Sunday and will get ready to take on the Bobcats on Monday evening before taking off for their holiday break. Milwaukee will be looking to win two games in a row for the first time this season. After Monday’s game, the Bucks will be in Brooklyn on Friday to take on the Brook Lopez-less Nets (Lopez poured in 32 during their last matchup). After that, Milwaukee will be back at the BMO next Saturday to take on Minnesota and will end the year in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve against the Lakers.
Happy holidays everyone. Be safe and responsible.
In the battle of the two worst squads in the Eastern Conference on Saturday night, the Bucks didn’t come out victorious. After an underachieving 5-14 start, Brooklyn defeated Milwaukee 90-82 and improved only to a mere 6-14 on the young season. The win marks the first time that Brooklyn has won consecutive games on the road. Meanwhile, Milwaukee reverts back to their losing ways after grabbing a win in overtime on Friday night in Washington. The main component for the Nets’ success on the night came inside and mostly from Brook Lopez. Brooklyn outscored Milwaukee in the paint 44-30, including a season-high 32 from Lopez. Twenty of his 32 points came in the first half of the game.
With Zaza Pachulia ruled out once again, that left Milwaukee and Larry Drew shorthanded up front. John Henson received the start against Lopez but Drew was forced to throw in young gun Miroslav Raduljica early in the second quarter because of his physical capabilities compared to his other players available. Drew after the game said, “I thought he gave us some really good minutes, but at the end we had no answers for Lopez down low.” Lopez also managed to extend his double-digit scoring streak to 37 games – which is the longest of his career. “I got good looks from my guards. They got me easy looks. I just tried to take my time in the post and really read what they were doing.” Lopez explained afterwards.
Khris Middleton: 37 minutes, nine points and six rebounds. After scoring a career-high 29 points in Washington on Friday, Middleton struggled with his shot in this game shooting three-for-nine from the field and hitting only one shot from behind the arc. Consistency is starting to look like the issue with Middleton’s game this season, but for what it’s worth, he also played the most minutes of any Bucks player for the second straight game.
O.J. Mayo: 22 points, five assists. Mayo led all Bucks players in scoring on the night.
John Henson: 18 points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot. Henson extended his streak of games with one block to 14. For most of the game, John led the team in scoring until late in the second half. Henson was the lone bright spot for Milwaukee in the paint but they still were manhandled by Lopez.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 14 minutes, three points and one blocked shot. I felt obligated to mention Giannis in this post because most of you just want an update on him anyways. He was very much ineffective tonight other than his lone energetic block.
Ekpe Udoh: 25 minutes, 0 points and five fouls. I honestly don’t know what I was going to do if Udoh fouled out of the game. Even though he is battling an injury, his putrid stat line is a cause for concern being in the starting lineup. But with all of the injuries going on with this team, there’s nothing else Drew can do.
Milwaukee concluded a long week in which they played four games in five nights. That’s a pretty tough stretch for a team still trying to find their identity this season as a whole. “You go through stretches of going through the highs and lows. We have got to man up and deal with the schedule like all of the other 29 teams do.” The Bucks will have to do a lot more than just man up considering their next game will be Tuesday on the road versus a tough Chicago Bulls team.