Bucks complete largest comeback of season with clutch effort against Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers v Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Following a win over the Washington Wizards in their last outing, the Milwaukee Bucks aimed to get another victory in the books against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.

This was a unique game for the Bucks for many reasons, but mainly due to the fact that it was star guard Damian Lillard's first game against his former team since a trade to Milwaukee went down in September. That face-off added a little extra flavor to a matchup that ended up being incredibly turbulent from start to finish.

The Milwaukee Bucks did indeed get the win, but it certainly wasn't easy. They trailed by as many as 26 points in this game, and things looked gloomy for quite a while. However, as they've done again and again this season, the Bucks kicked it into another gear in the second half, especially in the final frame. Let's take a look at how they got there.

Bucks complete largest comeback of season with clutch effort against Trail Blazers

The Blazers came out of the gates red hot. In the first half, they shot 52.1 percent from the floor and a scorching 58.8 percent from 3-point territory. Given that they entered the contest as one of the worst offenses in the NBA this season, that was troubling and frustrating. Even more problematic was how lackluster Milwaukee's defense was, as they provided little resistance to Portland's onslaught.

Milwaukee trailed by 16 at the half, and many hoped that one of the league's worst offensive teams would cool down in the second half. They eventually did, but not before building up a 26-point lead in the early stages of the third. Through it all, the Bucks kept their composure, but it felt like when they went down by 26, they flipped a switch and finally got it together.

From that point on, which occurred with 9:09 left in the third, the Bucks outscored the Blazers 53-21. They did a good chunk of that damage in the fourth, outscoring Portland 33-14.

The final frame featured two double digit scorers for the Bucks, led by 11 points from Damian Lillard. Though he shot just 2-of-6 from the floor, the guard remained aggressive and earned six free throw attempts, all of which he sunk. He also buried a clutch triple with just under three minutes left to play to knot the game at 97.

Bobby Portis followed that with 10 of his 12 total points. The big man had been struggling mightily up to that point, missing a dunk and a layup while just not looking like himself. He finally got it together in the fourth, scoring those 10 points of 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-2 from deep while also pulling in five rebounds. He's been in a slump lately, but hopefully this performance can help snap that.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished just short of joining them in the double-digit club, having tallied nine points in the fourth. He had a dunk, a tough and-one layup, and a tip-in layup in the final moments to give the Bucks a two-point lead over the Blazers.

In total, Antetokounmpo led the way with 33 points and 16 boards, Lillard chipped in 31 points, and Portis added 12 points and eight boards. Malik Beasley had 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals on his birthday, while Brook Lopez continued to be a monster on the defensive end with four blocks and three steals to go with his 10 points.

On Portland's side, five players finished with double-digit points. Former Buck Malcolm Brogdon had it going early on and finished with 18 points and 12 assists, while Jerami Grant led the team in scoring with 22 points.

It seems like it's become a trend to say this after every game, but the Bucks clearly still have plenty of issues defensively. It looked like there was a lot of miscommunication between players, which caused a lot of great opportunities for Portland. The Bucks have to get in the lab and figure out this issue and their slow starts, which was clearly yet another obstacle to overcome in this one.

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