Following wins over the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, the Milwaukee Bucks had gotten themselves into a nice groove, it seemed.
That groove would be tested against a strong Sacramento Kings team, who came to Fiserv Forum to face the Bucks, who were on the second night of a back-to-back. To add more difficulty, the Bucks would be without Khris Middleton, as he continues to be limited on back-to-backs. What transpired was one of the most thrilling games of the year for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Damian Lillard's overtime game-winner makes waves on social media as Bucks beat Kings
The last 18 seconds of this game were absolute madness. With less than 20 seconds on the overtime clock and the Kings up by four points, Malik Monk stepped to the free throw line. It seemed like only a miracle could save the Bucks at that point. Well, things got a big easier after Monk missed both of his free throw tries, with Giannis Antetokounmpo securing the board.
With 12 seconds left, Antetokounmpo found Brook Lopez in the corner for a 3-point heave, which he sunk to pull Milwaukee within a single point. That led to a Sacramento timeout before Malik Beasley intentionally fouled De'Aaron Fox. The guard missed the first free throw before making the second to push Sacramento's lead to two points.
From then on, it was Dame Time. Damian Lillard sped up the court and let it fly from several feet behind the 3-point line as thousands of fans hoped for the guard's first buzzer-beater in a Milwaukee uniform. They got it. Lillard drained the shot, and the Bucks secured a 143-142 win to extend their winning streak to three games.
Social media acted accordingly.
Overall, it wasn't the greatest shooting night for Lillard, having hit just nine of his 23 shot attempts, but he made the big one and finished with 29 points to go with eight assists. Even on a night where he's not hitting as many shots as he'd like, Lillard can flip that switch in the clutch and deliver shots like this, his first game-winning bucket in a Milwaukee uniform.
Lillard wasn't the lone Buck who dazzled, as Giannis Antetokounmpo had his fifth triple-double of the season with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Malik Beasley continued his recent string of nice showings with 23 points on five made 3-pointers while also having five assists. His impact cannot be overstated at all, as he continues to be an outstanding addition to this Milwaukee Bucks team.
Even beyond his clutch 3-pointer in overtime, Brook Lopez did his part with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
Due to the clutch heroics, something that may get overlooked is a pair of strong efforts from two key reserves. Bobby Portis has been extremely up and down as of late, but he finished with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting while also hauling in 10 boards. Cameron Payne, coming back from a concussion, had one of his most productive outings of the season with 15 points.
This type of production from Milwaukee's bench has been a rarity this season, but if they can get this type of effort from the second unit consistently, it would be huge.
On the other side of the ball, De'Aaron Fox had a strong showing outside of the missed free throw, having tallied 32 points, five assists, and three steals. Malik Monk had 28 points, Kevin Huerter had 26, and Domantas Sabonis had 21 to round out the top scorers.
Between Lillard's game-winner and Jordan Love helping lead the Green Bay Packers to a playoff win over the Green Bay Packers, it was a great day for Wisconsin sports. Let us hope both franchises can keep the ball rolling moving forward.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.