After losing consecutive games, the Milwaukee Bucks desperately needed to find their mojo and bounce back against the Chicago Bulls.
Though they lost Jae Crowder, who will be out for at least the next eight weeks, help was on the way in the form of Damian Lillard. The point guard sat out those two losses due to an ankle injury, and getting him back would be a huge lift.
Milwaukee indeed managed to bounce back, securing a 118-109 victory at home. That doesn’t mean Chicago didn’t make things interesting, as they rallied back from double digits to claim the lead in the third. Thankfully, the Bucks regained control. Here’s how they did it.
Giannis Antetokounmpo reaches milestone as Bucks take down Bulls
Giannis Antetokounmpo continued his recent hot streak as he led Milwaukee to victory by tallying 35 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. He was on a mission all night long, attacking the rim with authority while also dominating the glass.
Three of his points came from 3-point range, as he hit a sweet fadeaway triple at the end of the first quarter to beat the buzzer. He reached a milestone in the process, knocking down his 500th career triple, the seventh most in Bucks history.
Antetokounmpo was not alone in climbing the ranks of Bucks history, as Khris Middleton moved up to fifth place on the team’s all-time scoring list. He scored 13 points in this one, hitting a few tough shots that made him look like the Middleton everyone is accustomed to seeing.
To round out the Big 3, Lillard struggled to get into a groove in his return. He scored 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting, having hit just one of his nine 3-point attempts. Even with Lillard struggling, it opened things up for the Bucks, as the Bulls were still quite focused on him.
Milwaukee got some much-needed contributions from the bench, particularly Bobby Portis, who has been red hot lately. The big man tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and a block. He was also a game-high +24, having made a strong impression in his minutes.
Alongside him was Pat Connaughton, who stuffed the stat sheet with six points, eight rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Connaughton has never been known for his passing, but he picked up a handful of those by finding Portis down low. When B.P. is on a roll, it’s easy to find him.
Two other notable contributors were MarJon Beauchamp and Andre Jackson Jr., two of the team’s younger players. With Crowder out, this duo was expected to see more time, and everyone wanted to see what they would do with the minutes.
Beauchamp did a little bit of everything, finishing with eight points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal and block each. His energy was apparent on both ends, which was exactly the type of boost this team needed with a reliable contributor in Crowder sidelined.
Jackson didn’t stuff the stat sheet as much – five points and three rebounds – but he made every possession count in his 12 and a half minutes. He hustled for rebounds and gave the team a pair of extra possessions offensively. He hit a big triple at a point when the team went ice cold.
This type of play is exactly what Milwaukee needs from these two youngsters moving forward if they’re going to weather the brutal loss of Crowder. They’re young, athletic, and hungry to prove to everyone around that they can make an impact on this Milwaukee team.
Ultimately, it was a nice win, but the Milwaukee Bucks are still very much still looking for a groove.
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