The Milwaukee Bucks played their final game of the preseason Thursday night in front of a surprisingly full Fiserv Forum. The home squad pulled out a win for the crowd, 118-96 to finish the preseason undefeated in five games.
The fans may have come ready, but the Bucks certainly didn’t. Through the first quarter, Milwaukee went 1-14 from beyond the arc and just 7-24 from the field yet still had the lead. The lone three came from Pat Connaughton with a minute left in the quarter. Ersan Ilyasova was really the only Buck to play well from the start, finishing with 10 points on 2-4 from deep in 16 minutes and locking down Karl Anthony-Towns and company on multiple possessions.
The second quarter proved to be the best of the game for Milwaukee, scoring 33 while only allowing 20. Khris Middleton played a big part in the run. He looked aggressive and confident in his shooting and it showed in the results, finishing with 18 on 6-11 from the field. The Wolves helped with the confidence of Kha$h by switching smaller defenders on him over and over and Middleton played iso ball every single time. This is what made him a first-time All Star last season and why he can be the number two on a championship team.
Giannis was as entertaining as anyone could be in a preseason game. From blocks to dunks to pull-ups, he showed it all and finished with 26/14 in 27 minutes. The highlight of the night was Giannis having two opportunities for uncontested dunks and on both occasions he chose to lay it up. I think he’s gotten to the point where if there’s no one under him to put on a poster, what’s the point? MVP mentality.
Two guys who were a bit of a disappointment and have been this preseason is new addition Wesley Matthews and Sterling Brown. Wes is set to be the starting SG when the season kicks off next week, and he’s going to need all seven days to prepare. He went 0-6 from deep, a guy Milwaukee signed very specifically for his deep threat. Sterling doesn’t carry the expectations that Wes does, yet he still hasn’t put out any impressive tape in what feels like a year. He constantly makes poor decisions and finds himself out of position more often than a regular rotation player should.
While they shot just 27.5% from three, the Bucks still finished their preseason on a high note and will enter the regular season on a 5-game win streak and a mostly healthy team. Eric Bledsoe should be back from his rib injury within the next two weeks, but Milwaukee will most likely have to go through Houston and Miami without their starting point guard.
The Bucks season kicks off in Houston next Thursday at 7 p.m. on TNT. Houston will look to start off strong with their runner-up MVP James Harden and old teammate Russell Westbrook.
One. Week. Finally!