The last Milwaukee Bucks’ game of 2019 summed up the season thus far nicely. Hot three-point shooting by the opponent but overall dominance from Milwaukee to secure an easy 20-point win. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe made their returns to the court and pummeled their border rival Chicago Bulls, 123-101.
The first half was nothing to write home about. The Bucks made just one three to Chicago’s ten, yet still held a three-point lead somehow at the break. Coby White and Lauri Markkanen did most of the damage with a combined 10-22 from the field and 7-12 from deep for 27 of the Bulls’ 52 first-half points.
Still, the Bucks are the Bucks and have been the Bucks and will continue to be the Bucks. The threes started falling and the defense locked in. Khris Middleton continued to be one of the best players in the month of December by finishing with a game-high 25/6/4 while only hitting one three. He’s pushing the 50/40/90 club and his per 36 numbers are that of an All-Star caliber player on a brand new contract.
Giannis and Bledsoe took most of the focus of the fans. Giannis only missed two games and played very similar to any other healthy game for him. In 27 minutes, he had 23/10/6 including a monster highlight dunk over Zach LaVine that, retrospectively, served as the dagger in the third quarter because there wasn’t much fight left from Chicago.
Bledsoe didn’t come back as ready as Giannis was to take on the regular load of duties. Bled saw the floor for just 17 minutes but made the most of his time. He was a game-high +26 despite having the 10th most minutes on the Bucks, the least of any player who didn’t play in garbage time. He had 15/3/3 with FOUR steals in his return, plenty against the Bulls.
Ersan moved back to the bench but didn’t lose a step from his tremendous two games in the starting lineup. 14/10/2 gives him three-straight double-doubles, Giannis-like performances (kinda).
Another win makes it 30 for the Bucks, six more than any other team in the Eastern Conference. Their next game will be on New Year’s Day in Milwaukee against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.