Thrilling: Bucks 90 – Blazers 88

Portland Trail Blazers 88 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Milwaukee Bucks
Jabari Parker, PF 32 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +3 +/-

In each game, Parker does more and more non-scoring things that contribute in a positive way. He’s obviously a well-rounded player capable of being more than just the scorer a lot of people assumed he’d be coming out of college. Specifically his awareness and ball-moving ability seems strong this season. As he gets more comfortable, he’ll likely keep flashing other skills. But the skill Milwaukee really needs from him is rebounding. The Bucks gave up 15 offensive rebounds that led to plenty of second chance points for the Blazers. They’d conquered this beat a bit lately, but it reared its ugly head once again.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 3FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +6 +/-

Giannis was aggressive early with five shots in the first quarter, inspired in part by a slew of early Blazers turnovers. More encouraging was the huge basket he made late after a play seemed to break down. After Giannis inbounded the ball to Monroe, he¬†got a pass back and looked to Middleton. He didn’t seem to like what he saw, so Giannis drove the baseline and rather easily maneuvered past his man and muscled in a layup to cut Portland’s lead to two points with 23 seconds to play. It was great to see him assert himself in a big spot with such confidence.

Greg Monroe, C 27 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +13 +/-

Typical Greg Monroe numbers obtained through typical Greg Monroe means on a typical Greg Monroe night. He will never score a ton of points or grab a ton of rebounds, but he will always score a decent number of points and grab a good amount of rebounds.

Khris Middleton, SG 41 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-6 3FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +2 +/-

Aside from a couple of very noticeable steals that both led to free throws for him, and a 3-pointer he made in the fourth quarter, Middleton kind of blended into the background a bit. It was hard to believe he played 10 more minutes than Carter-Williams, given how obvious it is when MCW is on the court.

O.J. Mayo, SG 36 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-7 3FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +11 +/-

As the starting point guard the last two games, it’s easy to see how different his approach is than other point guards that have started this season. Bayless shot a lot. MCW always has the ball and drives. Ennis didn’t really do much. Mayo was almost similar to Ennis early on, except if he did get the ball he was capable of making a play for himself if needed. But basically, Mayo got the ball out of his hands and let teammates¬†go to work early in the game. Then, when the Bucks needed someone to take control late, he was happy to be that guy.

He made four of seven shots in the fourth quarter and three of four threes, including a huge one that brought the Bucks within one with 16 seconds to play.

John Henson, PF 21 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -11 +/-

Henson’s block on the last play was a memorable moment. It looked like the Blazers might ruin Milwaukee’s fantastic last 30 seconds. Meyers Leonard caught the ball around the free throw line with a lot of room in front of him after Middleton helped off of him to cut off CJ McCollum. But Henson, who was strategically subbed in for Greg Monroe, something we haven’t always seen happen this season, cut across the paint off Ed Davis and blocked a short Leonard jumper before corralling the rebound.

It was his fourth block of the night and a cap on another strong game for Henson off the bench.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 12 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9 +/-

I think we’ve seen the best of this season’s JOB come and go.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 31 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 8 PTS | -3 +/-

The highs and lows are dizzying and come frequently. MCW just can’t seem to string together more than a handful of good plays. Fortunately for Milwaukee, he was able to put three together near the end of the game.

With the Bucks down one and 15 seconds left, MCW left Damian Lillard on an inbounds pass and seemed to surprise McCollum with a double team. He got his hands on the ball and combined with Giannis to force a jump ball, which his heigh allowed him to win. He followed that up with a drive into the paint and a drop off to a rolling Greg Monroe which gave Milwaukee the lead for good. After six turnovers, it was good to see him still make what was a difficult pass in the air and not force up a shot.

The six turnovers and bad shooting night were not as enjoyable leading up to that last 20 seconds, but, at least there was something for him to take away from this game.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 9 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -2 +/-

He’s been consistently getting a handful of minutes in the first half of each game, but he’s yet to make much of that opportunity. He helped keep a couple of possessions alive with some hustle, which is probably the kind of play that will help him keep getting minutes for the time being.

Two Things We Saw

  1. When the buzzer initially went off and it looked like the game was over, the Bucks and the crowd both broke into a raucous celebration. It felt like the Bucks had just won a huge playoff game or saved their season or something. The passion is there, from the team and the crowd both. It was just a Monday night win over a struggling team traveling across the country, but it meant a lot to the Bucks and the fans that have suffered through a tough stretch to start what was supposed to be a special season.Time is on Milwaukee’s side right now. They have 60 games to go. We’ll see if this game was the start of something bigger, as the schedule is about to get very difficult.
  2. This 3-point shooting thing is kind of incredible. Only Middleton and Mayo attempted threes for the Bucks and they combined for only seven before the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Blazers were bombing away from deep. They made just 1-15 first half threes before correcting a bit in the second half with seven makes on 19 attempts. The Bucks were very fortunate that Portland had an off night.

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1 Comment

  1. Can you guys please look up Middleton’s isolation/post up numbers? I have no idea why that’s part of the Bucks offense anymore.