The Bucks are starting to forget what losing is. Their buzzer-beating loss in Utah was November 8th, their third loss this season. Since then, its been 35 days and Milwaukee hasn’t scored less than the opponent in any of the 17 games. The Friday the 13th matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies briefly threatened this streak, but the almighty Bucks asserted dominance with a 127-114 win in Memphis.
The Grizzlies were without their Rookie of the Year favorite Ja Morant to lead the team. Without his 18 points and six assists a game, the Bucks seemed poised to annihilate another lesser opponent, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the starting lineup. Yet, Milwaukee came out with low energy and relatively poor execution for their standards. They were outshot by the Grizzlies from deep 10-5 in the first half and only a George Hill buzzer beater through the first 24 minutes gave them the 64-62 lead.
Third quarters for the Bucks have been a breath of fresh air the last season and a half. I don’t know what Coach Bud says during the break, but it lights a fire. Well, in case you weren’t aware, the Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins coached under Budenholzer for the six seasons before this year. It appears that he has picked up something from Coach Bud’s speeches because Memphis came out amped up.
The Grizzlies dropped 33 points for the second straight quarter but the real story came from Jaren Jackson Jr. JJJ dropped 24 points on 7-11 from deep in the third quarter alone and seemingly went unconscious. Signs of Klay Thompson came out from the second-year 20-year-old power forward, one of the most impressive shooting performances of the season. All of this occurred largely without Giannis on the floor as he had picked up a couple of early third quarter offensive fouls to sit him down. Yet, somehow, the Bucks were able to weather the storm just enough to hold a 5-point deficit going into the final 12 minutes.
Giannis was unleashed and the game was over. He scored 17 points in his roughly seven minute stint with 2-2 on his deep shots and a poster over Brazilian Bruno Caboclo. Milwaukee’s defense reestablished itself by allowing only 19 fourth quarter points and the Bucks kept their margin of victory at a record pace with the 13-point win.
Giannis ended with 37/11/2 in only 27 minutes but the most interesting note from the game came from the posterization of Bruno Caboclo. Caboclo played for the Brazilian team in the FIBA World Cup last summer and played a large part in eliminating Giannis and his Greek squad from the tournament. Giannis said after the game that he had this game with Memphis circled before the season began simply to get revenge for his national team.
It took over three quarters, but Giannis finally got to deliver the hammer. After passing to a cutting Khris Middleton, Giannis charged the paint shortly after and received a pass back that resulted in the picture-perfect dunk on Caboclo. On the way back down the court to play defense, Giannis was seen jawing at Caboclo most of the way back and received a technical foul for his talk. If you want to find his quote about what he said to get the tech, it’s out their to find it but it’s a little explicit to include it here. Nevertheless, you love to see it if you’re a Bucks fan.
Speaking of Khris Middleton, he’s been playing exactly how a number two player on this roster should. Khris has been extremely efficient shooting while being able to create his own shots and last night was no different. He shot 10-19 and 3-6 from deep for 26 points. This was especially needed considering Eric Bledsoe had to leave the game in the third quarter after suffering a lower-leg contusion. When Bled was asked after the game about the severity of the issue, he said he was good. The reporter compared his injury to Khris’ a couple weeks ago when Khris said he was good and ended up missing a couple weeks.
His response? “I know. Khris a little baby, though.”
The Bucks will go for eighteen straight as they play their second game of a back-to-back Saturday night at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. 17 games is tied for the second longest streak in franchise history, meaning the 20-game win streak is the next milestone. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.