The only team that stood between Milwaukee and a 12-game win streak going into Monday night’s game was the Utah Jazz. The Bucks seized their opportunity for revenge and pulled out a close one at home, 122-118, on the back of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The game went similarly to their last meeting a couple of weeks ago. The first half wasn’t pretty for either but more so for Milwaukee. The second half was a totally different story and a much bigger offensive explosion than anyone expected coming out of half time. Utah rained threes in Fiserv Forum for the entirety of the game, save for a short stretch in the third.
At half, the Jazz led Milwaukee 57-48. Utah was 9-18 from deep compared to the Bucks 3-17. The defense wasn’t terrible, they were just seemingly hitting every slightly open look they had. Giannis had 18/3/1 in 19 minutes in the first two quarters, which is impressive by itself considering he went 0-4 from three and missed five FTs. But the second half, he showed what his maximum potential looks like when everything is clicking.
The Greek Freak exploded in every facet of basketball. Total domination ensued and he crushed his season-high point total with a final line of 50/14/6. In his 21 second half minutes, Giannis had 32/11/5. That’d be a career game for 80% of the league and he accomplished it in the second half of a game where his team needed every bit of it. MVP-type stuff.
Giannis clearly took the storyline of the game, but Wes Matthews should be given his fair share of shine. Wes was the initial spark early in the third quarter that got the Bucks’ offense going which led to an 18-point advantage in that quarter alone. He hit four straight threes and finished with 19 points on 5-8 from three.
The Jazz are no joke of a team. They struggle on the road but are now 11-6 on the season and still have the only defense in the league better than Milwaukee’s. Their offense hasn’t shot anything like what they did tonight and perimeter defense continues to be a concern that I would expect Coach Budenholzer to address sooner or later. Nevertheless, the Bucks (14-3) extended their win streak to eight games and stayed a game ahead of the Boston Celtics, who beat the Sacramento Kings around the same time the game at Fiserv Forum finished up. Giannis also stands alone at second for most double-doubles to start a season at 17, still chasing Bill Walton at 34.
The Bucks get a day off before they face another familiar foe Wednesday at home in the Atlanta Hawks. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.