3 takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ thrilling win versus Indiana Pacers

Feb 15, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 15, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Serge Ibaka, Indiana Pacers: Terry Taylor
Feb 15, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks’ bench delivered an all-around solid performance versus the Indiana Pacers

With an assortment of injuries, head coach Mike Budenholzer has had to make significant changes to the nightly rotation. Wesley Matthews was the latest addition to the Bucks’ injury report as the swingman was sidelined with right toe soreness, joining two other key second unit contributors in George Hill and Pat Connaughton on the bench. Without Matthews, Budenholzer would once again have to shake things up, and the reserves played rather well.

The biggest story off the bench was the strong play from Lindell Wigginton, whose playing time has increased mightily lately due to these injuries. The two-way rookie has made the most of his opportunity thus far, having put together a strong performance last night by scoring 12 points on 4-of-8 field goal shooting, including a red-hot 3-of-4 from deep. Wigginton had the hot hand all night long, giving the Bucks life offensively off the bench. However, the guard did far more than just score as he was active everywhere, making hustle plays and playing persistent defense to make his presence felt whenever he was out on the court. The Bucks have needed a spark with several key pieces out, and thus far, Wigginton has answered the call.

While Wigginton paved the way, Serge Ibaka and Sandro Mamukelashvili gave the Bucks some quality minutes in the frontcourt last night. In just his second game with Milwaukee, the newly acquired Ibaka had a solid performance by scoring nine points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting while also pulling down five rebounds. The big man also played ruthless defense all night long, proving that he can be the interior presence that this team has lacked for most of the season. He got help from the rookie in Mamukelashvili, who scored six points on 3-of-3 shooting in some incredibly rare meaningful minutes for him. This sizeable one-two punch proved to have a major impact off the bench, and perhaps the Bucks will look to utilize the combination moving forward.

Lastly, Jordan Nwora added nine points, but it took him nine shot attempts to get there. As always, there were some great things about the forward’s performance, such as him knocking down some tough shots and ultimately helping the Bucks seal the victory, while there were also some brutal moments, like the forward getting blocked at the rim for the second consecutive game. The Bucks are still banking on the hope that Nwora can play some sort of meaningful role for them, but last night showed that he still has quite a ways to go.

Regardless, it was a productive night from a depleted Milwaukee bench, showing how this team has embraced the “next man up” mentality. It appears that this second unit will be getting a new member as DeAndre’ Bembry is reportedly close to signing with the Bucks, which will give them another rotational player to utilize as they navigate through these injuries woes.