Following two straight perfect weeks, the Bucks hoped to continue their winning ways in a rather easy patch of the schedule. With Khris Middleton returning from injury and Giannis further demonstrating why he is the reigning MVP, Milwaukee is surely hopeful for another deep playoff run. But first, it is necessary the Bucks keep winning so that they can hold onto the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The first and perhaps most meaningful test for the Bucks within the past few weeks of success for the Bucks was another battle against the Utah Jazz. On November 8, Bojan Bogdanović nailed a game-winning buzzer beater to give the Bucks their third loss of the season. Since then, the Bucks had not lost a single game.
Finishing the season series in Milwaukee, the Bucks and Jazz fought head-to-head early in the first quarter. However, for the remainder of the first half and the beginning of the second half, the Jazz began to pull away with a double digit lead over the Bucks. Fortunately, a 32-point second half from Giannis, who ended the game with 50 points and 14 rebounds, brought the Bucks right back into the game and paved the way for a tight 118-122 victory over the Jazz. Giannis did receive help from others, most notably a 19 points from Wesley Matthews off of 6/9 shooting, but it was his impressive performance that did everything for the Bucks that night.
With an eight game winning streak, the Bucks stayed at the Fiserv Forum for yet another clash with the Atlanta Hawks. As the Hawks have been struggling as of recent years following the departures of Paul Millsap and Al Horford, the Bucks were heavily expected to win this one.
Even though he did not start, Khris Middleton came off the bench this game and showed some signs of his former self. With his help, the Bucks at one point built a 17-point lead over the Hawks. Nevertheless, Atlanta fought their way back into the game and even led for most of the third quarter. But sure enough, the Bucks came right back and outscored the Hawks by 10 in the fourth quarter to win their ninth straight win. As usual, Giannis scored 30 points with 10 rebounds. To help him, Middleton had 16 points in just 19 minutes.
After a day of rest, the Bucks flew out to Cleveland to battle the Cavaliers, who are still rebuilding following the departure of LeBron James. Despite this, the Bucks knew that anything could happen and they have to maintain their focus because as seen in previous years, the Cavaliers can be a dangerous team if just one player gets hot.
With Khris Middleton coming off the bench again, the Bucks for almost the entire game retained a lead and completely dominated the Cavaliers. Giannis led the way with 33 points and 12 rebounds and five other Bucks scored over 10 points this game. It was a team effort in securing their tenth straight victory and widening the gap between them and the Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The final game of the week for the Bucks came against the Charlotte Hornets back at home. Given the recent success of the Bucks, no one would have expected the win streak to end after this one. Without Kemba Walker, it was going to be tough for the Hornets to beat the Bucks.
As expected, the Bucks never trailed throughout the entire game and ended up completely crushing the Hornets by 41 points. Due to the success of the team, many of the starters were able to rest for most of the game, including Giannis, who scored 26 points in just 19 minutes. For this reason, nine of the thirteen Bucks that played this game scored more than ten points. It was nice to see the bench make significant contributions to a victory and not have to rely on Giannis all the time.
The recent success of the Bucks can and should be attributed to their superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo. He consistently has been scoring roughly 30 points a game and more when his team needs it. Against Utah, his second career 50-point game is indicative that he will do what he needs to in order to secure a victory for the Bucks. While this dependence may come back to hurt the Bucks if he were to slow down, in the moment there have not been many problems.
Nevertheless, I still feel the Bucks will need to prove themselves against the top contenders before calling this win streak remarkable. It is impressive to build up a laundry list of wins, but the wins have not been against the best of teams. It is still crucial to record these victories, though, because in the end, it is just about finishing at the top of the Eastern Conference.
In Week 7, the Bucks have three games on the menu. The first two, one on Monday and another on Wednesday, should be another two victories given they are against the Knicks and Pistons respectively. But what will get exciting is Friday night, where the Bucks are at home against the Los Angeles Clippers—a potential foreshadowing of the 2019-2020 NBA Finals. With Paul George and Kawhi Leonard seemingly healthy to play this time, this game will be meaningful to say the least. The Bucks will certainly need to stay focused in order to maintain their now 11-game winning streak.
David’s Milwaukee Bucks Week 6 Grade: A
Milwaukee Bucks Week 7 Schedule (December 1 – December 7)
- Monday, December 1 at 7:00pm CT: vs New York Knicks
- Wednesday, December 3 at 6:00pm CT: @ Detroit Pistons
- Friday, December 5 at 7:30pm CT: vs Los Angeles Clippers