This was a game that every Bucks’ fan had circled on their calendar when the schedules were released. It was set to be the reunion with former Milwaukee starting guard Malcolm Brogdon who was traded over the summer to Indiana for picks. Well, the game didn’t live up to its potential as the Pacers were littered with injuries including Brogdon which led to an easy win for the Bucks, 102-83.
What instead ensued was incredibly predictable. Indiana did get back Myles Turner after an injury that put him on the bench for the past eight games. Still, they were without Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, Jeremy Lamb, T.J. McConnell which left them with little scoring options. That, along with playing Milwaukee’s defense that tops the league, and you’ll find yourself scoring just 83 points.
Giannis continues to be the story of the season. You may wonder how a guy that just won MVP and is clearly on the radar of the entire NBA can continue to surprise those who watch. The answer lies in the game tape. Clearly, Giannis is shooting threes with more confidence and this has resulted in shooting 42% from three over the past seven games, although his season’s percentage still sits below 30%.
But we all know that he’s working on his three-point shot and that’s supposedly that last part of his game he has yet to develop. While that may be true to an extent, what has gone overlooked is his incremental improvements in all aspects of his game between last season and this. He had diversified his portfolio of driving and post moves that have made him an unpredictable nightmare for anyone who stands in the defensive paint. We have yet to see a team find a successful method of stopping Giannis this season at any capacity and I suspect it won’t be as easy as it was last season.
Giannis finished this game with 26/13/6, breaking his six-game 30-point streak. Brook Lopez and second-time starter Donte DiVincenzo carried the rest of the scoring for the starters by shooting a combined 12-19 for 29 points. The bench struggled for most of the game but Sterling Brown stood out the most, scoring ten points on 4-9 shooting.
This game had barely a fraction of the excitement that was anticipated when this matchup was announced. Fans will now have to wait for their next game with Indiana that will take place three days before Christmas.
The Bucks improved to 9-3 on the season and 6-2 on the road. Their next game will be tomorrow, Monday against the Chicago Bulls. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.