Bucks Buzz: Milwaukee Battles Back with Big Fourth
Milwaukee Bucks still haven’t lost consecutive games this season. The top team in the Eastern Conference has yet to see back-to-back losses on the schedule. At one point on Monday night, it appeared like the Bucks may be in trouble. They trailed early on in the second half to Utah, but Milwaukee found a way with a huge fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Bucks outscored Utah 31-15 pulling away from the Jazz and winning with ease. This is a great win for the Bucks, and one they needed with a bevy of road games coming up in the next couple weeks.
Player of the Game: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Quin Snyder is one of the best minds in basketball, and he tried something new with Giannis by sticking Rudy Gobert on him. In the first half, Giannis struggled a bit, but he came on strong in the second half plus had another punishing fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo finished the game with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Giannis shot a career-high 30 times this game which is a ton for the Greek Freak, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Silver Star: Thon Maker – In the last few games, we haven’t seen much of Thon Maker. He reminded us what his worth is as a basketball player on Monday night. Maker had 15 points and five rebounds in his best performance of the year. Maker looked comfortable out there and when Thon is feeling it, he can play with anyone. He needs the confidence. Maker definitely had that in spades last night. That is his best performance of the year.
Positive: Defense coming together in the fourth – In my opinion, this is championship basketball looks like for Milwaukee. They trailed heading into the fourth and found their defense to shut down Utah to only 15 points. Jazz ran hot all night, and Milwaukee clamped it down late while overtaking the lead. The game didn’t even finish close. Bucks wrapped it up with a solid victory by the end of the fourth. I love that from the Bucks. It bears repeating that this would not have been a game Milwaukee won last year.
Negative: Tough night for Bledsoe and Middleton – I mentioned on the Daily Tap last night that in order for the Bucks to be successful they need their second bananas to be in high gear with Giannis. That didn’t happen again on Monday night. Middleton and Bledsoe combined to shoot eight-of-26 from the field and made two-of-nine three-pointers. It was an ugly game from both players, but Bledsoe really had a poor game. He also added six turnovers. That’s not good as a point guard.
Highlight of the night: Splash Mountain calls game.
BROOK LOPEZ ISN'T EVEN IN DOWNTOWN ANYMORE pic.twitter.com/vPuAAKKv3m
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) January 8, 2019
Next up: Milwaukee starts their time on the road with a tough game against a red-hot Houston team and James Harden. The hype around this game nationally will be significant considering it’s in the middle of the NFL Playoff week, and the National Championship talk will be over. Giannis versus Harden on national television. It should be fun. To me, the matchup to watch is actually Clint Capela versus Brook Lopez. Milwaukee has not won at Houston since 2013.