Milwaukee Bucks: 3 takeaways from 129-125 win over New Orleans Pelicans

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 25: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 25: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 25: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 25: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks are rolling after taking home one of their most thrilling victories of the 2020-21 season by edging past the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night at Fiserv Forum.

It was a true shootout in every sense of the word as both teams were unstoppable, especially so in the first half. With both the Bucks and the Pelicans executing to as best they could, they certainly set up what was an entertaining close down the stretch.

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That execution was largely nowhere to be found in the final minute as the Bucks committed a costly turnover that set up a chance for the Pelicans to tie the game at 128 on two separate occasions.

Instead, Eric Bledsoe’s 3-point attempt was well off the mark and after forcing a turnover on Khris Middleton on the subsequent play, the Pelicans overpassed their final possession that saw Donte DiVincenzo draw a clutch charge. Despite that helter-skelter finish, the Bucks stood on top at the final buzzer.

So without further ado, let’s examine what all stood out in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 129-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans from Thursday night.

First takeaway from win over Pelicans — Milwaukee Bucks stars pilot team down the stretch

There’s no question the battle between the Bucks and the Pelicans, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson at the center of it all, didn’t disappoint.

With both teams exploding offensively, the Bucks were certainly good hands with Antetokounmpo driving the Bucks’ interior attack. Antetokounmpo was simply unstoppable on his way to the rim as 24 of his 38 total points came within the painted area. Antetokounmpo being able to get to the rim at will was certainly made easier by the Pelicans uncharacteristically surrendering 64 paint points on the night.

Along with his 35-plus point performance, which is the first Bucks player to pull off such a feat since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Greek superstar added 10 rebounds and four assists in nearly 38 minutes of run.

After shaking off a subdued first half, All-Star forward Khris Middleton made his presence known over the Bucks’ second half performance.

Middleton was very aggressive in looking for his own shot, whether in isolation or operating out of ball screens, and was incessantly probing for any crack in the Pelicans’ pick-and-roll defense. With 21 of his 31 total points coming over the second half, Middleton proved vital in fending off the Pelicans until the very end.

And it was that tandem of Antetokounmpo and Middleton that made life so much easier for the Bucks to manage the crunch-time minutes they played in as both teams traded leads back and forth with one another until the final minute. That pick-and-roll proved its worth every single time the Bucks rolled with it down the final stretch.

Now 5-5 in the games they’ve been without Holiday as well as picking up their first win of the season when trailing or tied going into the fourth quarter, the Bucks relied on their stars to seal the deal.