Coming off an incredibly disappointing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Bucks had to come out with an intense mindset against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Without Khris Middleton, who is no stranger to resting on back to backs this season, things would be harder for the Bucks, but they had to embrace the famed "next man up" mentality. Thankfully, after a back-and-forth first quarter where the teams exchanged the lead two times, the Bucks went ahead of never turned back.
From that point on, they went up by as many as 34 points en route to a 141-117 victory over the visiting Pelicans. Here is how they did it.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues impressive streak in Bucks' win over Pelicans
Giannis Antetokounmpo was tremendous in this one, tallying 30 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two steals while shooting 68.8 percent from the floor. Outside of his one 3-pointer, Giannis was dominant down low all game long, throwing down a couple of eye-popping dunks and converting at the hoop in efficient fashion.
The Greek Freak continued his streak of being excellent in back to backs this season. On zero days of rest this season, which has been on seven occasions, Antetokounmpo has averaged 36.3 points, 12.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, according to NBA.com. The second night of a back-to-back games are always tough, but Antetokounmpo has risen to the challenge.
Antetokounmpo was not alone with his impressive performance, as plenty of other Bucks chimed in, including Damian Lillard. Coming off an ugly showing against Cleveland, Lillard was in a much better groove against New Orleans, shooting 7-of-14 from the floor to tally 26 points. He also dished out nine assists and two steals in a much-needed bounce-back game.
Milwaukee's big men also came to play. Brook Lopez was on fire from behind the arc, knocking down six 3-pointers in nine attempts while also handling business down low. He finished with 24 points in one of his best performances lately. The same goes for Bobby Portis, who gave the team a jolt off of the bench with 20 points and seven rebounds on 60 percent shooting.
Another reserve who provided a spark was Cameron Payne, who has been in and out of the rotation as of late. He entered this one with something to prove and put up a line of 11 points, five assists, and two steals, knocking down three of his four 3-point attempts. He's a fascinating player to keep an eye on over the next few weeks with his role far from penciled in.
For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram was displaying his tough shot-making ability all night long, hitting an array of smooth shots to finish with 26 points. Zion Williams got his share of buckets down low, as the forward finished with 23 points, but the Bucks also forced five turnovers out of him, making things as difficult as they could on him.
Now, the Bucks head out to face the Denver Nuggets in what is expected to be the first game in the Doc Rivers coaching era.
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