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.