Giannis and company traveled to the site of the Green Bay Packers most recent demolishing, Dallas, Texas. The Bucks had similar success, defeating the Mavericks 118-111.
Preseason basketball might not matter in the grand scheme of things, but when you have a team as exciting as the Milwaukee Bucks, you watch all the basketball you can. The Mavericks didn’t have a particularly polarizing season last year, but they added one of the best young big men in the game in Kristaps Porzingis during the offseason and paired him with Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic. This was the duo’s second game together and KP’s second game in 20 months after recovering from a torn ACL.
Milwaukee played as well as one could hope for the third game of the preseason. The offense was finding open looks and the defense seemed to communicate well. Of course, everything started with Giannis. In his 23 minutes, the Greek Freak finished with 34 points to go with his 12 rebounds and four assists. What made this game even better than the last for Antetokounmpo was how he excelled at the free throw line and from deep, two areas that Giannis has been known to struggle with in his young career. He went 3/4 from deep and 5/5 from the strike. If he’s able to replicate this at least somewhat during the regular season, he will surely take a significant step from last season and that’s talking about an MVP season.
In each of these few preseason games, coach Bud has distributed minutes well across the board. Donte DiVincenzo, everyone’s breakout player for this season, was first off the bench and had an average night. The one who really surprised fans was Ersan Ilyasova. We knew he was capable of a night like he had, but to see him score 18 on 5/7 from three reminded us of just how versatile this Bucks bench is.
In case you hadn’t heard, Eric Bledsoe fractured cartilage between two of his ribs and will be monitoring his pain for the next 2-3 weeks. This means it’s possible he won’t be ready for the first week of the regular season. Milwaukee’s point guard depth isn’t very deep and we may see Frank Mason III see significant minutes, being on of the Bucks’ two-way players. He has mostly only gotten to run the floor in the final quarter and even then hasn’t shown much, so Bledsoe’s health will be something to closely monitor until he is fully healed.
Again, this is preseason. But unlike the NFL, the starters aren’t taking this lightly. This is a chance to shake off the rust and get some real game action. And when you have the most exciting player in the world on your team, you don’t take a game of any importance for granted.
The Bucks will head to Washington for a Sunday afternoon game. Tipoff is at 5:00 p.m.