The Milwaukee Bucks’ Big 3 has set the tone post-All-Star break

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 26: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 26: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

It is far from bold to say that the Milwaukee Bucks have the best leading trio in the entire NBA. While one could certainly argue that there are others that stack up against it, the Bucks have an electrifying three-headed monster in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton that has already proven they can win at the highest level after their championship run last season. With a 26-8 record in games where these three all suit up this year, Milwaukee has been a difficult out when their main pieces are in the fold.

Coming out of the All-Star break with a 36-24 record and the toughest remaining schedule in the association, the Bucks knew they faced a massive challenge ahead. Following much-needed time off, Milwaukee’s star-studded trio has set the tone with some impressive play after the break as they have put together a 2-1 overall record thus far. The defeat against the Brooklyn Nets in their first game back was a tough pill to swallow for the champs, but they have reeled off consecutive victories against the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat since then.

Looking at the contributions from the Milwaukee Bucks’ Big 3 following the NBA All-Star break

In three games following the All-Star break, the Big 3 is averaging 72.7 points, 25 rebounds, and 18.7 assists per game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has characteristically led the way by averaging 27.7 points, 15.7 boards, and 5.7 assists per contest. While his shooting percentages have not jumped off the page at just 46 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from behind the arc, Antetokounmpo’s efforts at the line in this stretch have certainly been eye-catching. Shooting 35-of-41 (85.4 percent) from the free throw line in the past three games, Antetokounmpo has looked as comfortable as ever when stepping to the stripe, which is always a welcoming sign.

All of that goes without mentioning the robust defense Antetokounmpo has played throughout the first few games as well. The Greek Freak is averaging 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocked shots since the All-Star break ended, which included a four-block performance against the Hornets. Giannis was listed as the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year in’s latest ladder, and these efforts over the past three games have undoubtedly only raised his stock further.

Following his third career All-Star appearance, Khris Middleton has also looked refreshed as he has stepped up for the Bucks, particularly with his lethal scoring ability. In three games since the break, Middleton has averaged 23.3 points per game, finding himself in a nice rhythm despite a tough shooting night against the Hornets.

One particular area that has been noticeably better in these three games is Middleton’s 3-point shooting, as he has shot 10-of-23 (43.5 percent). The forward is currently having one of his least efficient outside shooting seasons to date, so to see him come out of the break firing from deep is refreshing. Hopefully he can keep letting it fly from confidence and see the same results.

Of course, Jrue Holiday has also been fantastic by averaging 21.7 points while shooting an efficient 53.7 percent from the floor and 50 percent from distance. The All-Star snub has upped his scoring a notch lately, attacking the rim with ferocity while also finding confidence from three. Holiday has also been a great facilitator in this stretch, as he is averaging 8.7 assists in this run, a team-high. He has had some turnover woes lately, but the guard is certainly doing more good than harm.

The best instance of the trio’s impact came in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s battle against a household rival in the Heat. With the Bucks trailing and losing control of the game, the Big 3 took over in the final period to help secure the comeback victory. Antetokounmpo was masterful over the final 12 minutes by scoring 14 points, hitting all six of his free throw attempts, including four of which that came late with the game on the line.

Middleton initially had a tough start to the quarter as he missed his first three shot attempts prior to hitting a clutch triple that pulled the Bucks within one point late. Holiday was surgical as he had seven points in the period on 60 percent shooting while handing out three assists. He also sunk a game-winner with a tough layup off the glass in the closing seconds after Antetokounmpo won a jump ball.

These three were pivotal down the stretch in what was one of Milwaukee’s biggest victories of the 2021-22 season so far. Those final 12 minutes and this three-game stretch have shown the trust and chemistry these three have built to compete with the best of the best in every game. Despite a difficult road ahead, the Milwaukee Bucks know they will always have a shot with these three.

All of this goes without mentioning the stellar efforts from Bobby Portis, who has also upped his game following the All-Star break with some outstanding numbers. Perhaps we will have to start calling it a Big 4 down in Milwaukee from now on.

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The Milwaukee Bucks will need everything they have from these four as the Chicago Bulls come to town tonight in a must-see battle between Eastern Conference contenders.