Bucks Buzz: Giannis Outduels Harden
Everyone wanted to see the big matchup between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden on Wednesday night. ESPN made an appearance, and the lights shined bright on both MVP candidates. They did not disappoint. Giannis had a 20-20 game and Harden went off for 42 points. But in the end, Milwaukee was the better team. Bucks continue their success against the Western Conference and win again 112-107 in one of their best road victories of the season. The third and fourth quarter run Milwaukee had proved to be the difference in this game.
Player of the Game; Malcolm Brogdon – Look, we’ll talk about Giannis in this part, but to me, Brogdon played a bigger role. Brogdon had a great game with 24 points and scoring all inside the arc. We previewed this game on Daily Tap, and I mentioned how there needs to be that second guy for the Bucks to be successful. I mentioned Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton, but are we sure it’s not Brogdon? This performance has me wondering about Brogdon’s ceiling because this is a big game, big moment and he stepped up to it.
Silver Star: Giannis Antetokounmpo – It’s rare that you have a 20-20 game and it’s quiet. But that’s what Giannis did. P.J. Tucker gave him fits a couple years ago in the playoffs, but that isn’t the case anymore. Tucker, like others, received an ass-kicking from Antetokounmpo with 27 points. Tonight featured a much more efficient version of the Greek Freak with only 16 shot attempts. That’s what you want to see out of Antetokounmpo. This is a great resume tape for why he’s an MVP candidate.
Positive: Eric Bledsoe’s defense – This doesn’t show up in the box score, but Bledsoe did a great job on Harden. Sure, he got 42 points but Bledsoe set the tone with Harden early on in this game. He did something we haven’t seen from opposing players on The Beard. If the Bucks were in the West, that would be a distinct advantage they would have over this team, and if somehow, this ends up the Finals matchup, Bucks have themselves a Harden plan.
Negative: Thon’s disappearance – I don’t get it. Thon Maker had 15 points and played really well on Monday night. He gets rewarded with three whole minutes against Houston. Ersan Ilyasova had some good offensive moments in this game with 10 points and seven boards, but Houston absolutely cooked him on defense. Same with George Hill. Maker could have contributed defensively, and Mike Budenholzer did not give him that ability.
Highlight of the night: Giannis with the volleyball tip-in (Shouts to the Bucks for using Travis Scott’s lyrics all night in their tweets)
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 10, 2019
Next up: Milwaukee heads to Washington for their first matchup with the Wizards this season on Friday night. Bucks-Wizards have some beef that’s mostly based on Markieff Morris being a bitch. Morris hasn’t played much recently, so, he may not be there to get what he deserves – a dunk on his head. Wizards have been better of late, and they’re a decent home team as they smacked Philly last night. It will be Washington’s third game in four nights when they take on the Bucks.