Having lost four of their last five matchups, many fans hoped that the Milwaukee Bucks would enter Thursday's clash with the Boston Celtics with a sense of immediate urgency.
Getting a win over a prominent Eastern Conference foe and another top team could be the spark they needed to get back on the right track after a rough few weeks. The Bucks needed all hands on deck if they were to win this contest, and thankfully, that's exactly how it went down.
The Bucks just flat-out dominated right away, having built up a 41-23 by the end of the first quarter. From there, they only continued to throw haymakers at the Celtics, hitting tough shots and making hustle plays at every turn.
Milwaukee never trailed, and their largest lead was 43 points. With the Bucks holding a massive lead at the half, the Celtics actually pulled their starters, something that would have been frowned upon a bit more than it was had they not been on the second night of a back-to-back.
In the end, Milwaukee secured a 135-102 victory over a key rival. Here's how they did it.
Bobby Portis records incredible stat as Milwaukee Bucks demolish Boston Celtics
It's no secret that Bobby Portis has been in a massive slump lately. The big man had been struggling beyond belief over these past few weeks, and it hurt the Bucks mightily. This was the type of contest where Milwaukee really needed him to break free. Break free he did.
Portis was in stride from the moment he checked in, having clocked in 11 points in the first quarter. During his six previous outings, Portis didn't even crack double-digit points in a single game, let alone a quarter. Yet, he wasn't done there.
The reserve kept firing away all night, and the success rarely stopped, particularly from long distance. Having sunk five of his six 3-point looks, Portis was in an excellent groove from start to finish, having finished with 28 points, a game-high.
In total, he tallied 28 points, 12 rebounds, five 3-point makes, and zero turnovers. Per StatMuse, he's just the second player to record these numbers off of the bench over the past 40 years. Talk about a slump-busting performance.
Hopefully this impressive performance can help Portis regain his rhythm for good and allow him to be the top-tier reserve this team needs.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo took more of a backseat as his teammates lightened the load, as he tallied 24 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. He was incredibly efficient from the floor, having sunk 10 of his 13 shot attempts. He was also a +38 for the game. Talk about impact.
Along those same lines, Damian Lillard was back in the starting lineup after missing the prior game against the Jazz, and he made his presence felt immediately. He scored 10 points in the first period, having been in attack mode from the jump, which helped him finish with 21 overall.
As the TNT broadcast crew continuously highlighted, Malik Beasley has been an excellent pickup for the Bucks this season. He showcased that throughout this matchup by notching 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-8 from deep. What an incredible addition he's been on a minimum.
Brook Lopez rounded out the double-digit scorers with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, with both of those misses coming from behind the arc. With five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks to go along with those points, it was a great all-around game for the veteran center.
On Boston's side, there's not too much to highlight, given that they got into an immediate hole and pulled their starters at the half. With extended minutes, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, and Oshae Brissett all put together solid double-digit point performances.
In short, this was a quality win for the Bucks. Some have tried to dismiss it as a bump in the road for a Boston team that was on the second night of a back-to-back, but even then, the energy and intensity on display from the Bucks came from a team that wanted to win this one badly.
These two franchises will meet again, and all eyes will be on those matchups when the time comes, no matter how many more times they play.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.