On the second night of a back-to-back in Portland as the final game of a four-game west coast road trip and the third 9:00 p.m. CT game in four days, there were plenty of reasons for Milwaukee to look off Saturday night against a capable backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Instead, we were reminded of why the Milwaukee Bucks are the best team in the NBA. Their big three of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe combined for 91 points on 35-60 from the field to boost the Bucks to a 122-101 win over the Trail Blazers.
The game didn’t have the feel of a blowout the entire game. While the Bucks maintained a lead for the entire game, Portland put up a bit of a fight in the first half. Lillard had 22 points and McCollum 11 to hold just a nine-point deficit at the break. Even Carmelo Anthony got in on the action with a pair of threes in the first half.
But don’t be fooled, the spotlight was entirely on Giannis, Khris, and Bled. Starting with Giannis, who scored a season-low 13 points in last night’s win in Sacramento, he had a fire that hasn’t seen in some time. From the tip, he was on his A-game and it showed on the floor and in the box score. He finished with 32/17/6 in 29 minutes, alleviating all Bucks fan’s worries about his ongoing back issues.
Khris has been in his bag since he returned from injury a few weeks ago and it has culminated to two top-notch performances this weekend. Tonight, he finished with 30/4/2/ on 11-17 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from deep. There wasn’t a player on the Trail Blazers who could match up with K-Midd and eventually, the Portland players noticeably gave up defending the turnaround jumper.
Last but absolutely not least, Eric Bledsoe showed the best of his offensive game. He played to his strengths, attacking downhill at every opportunity and not hesitating on open shots which led to a 29/4/3 night despite having to go against much taller defenders all night. A number of and-one opportunities boosted his offensive efficiency and hitting 3-5 shots from deep certainly helped.
The only other Buck to score more than six points was Donte DiVincenzo, who showed tremendous confidence with his 4-8 shooting for 10 points. Portland made shots here and there, but Milwaukee’s defense suffocated the energy out of the arena early in the second half and the Bucks coasted to a victory in the fourth.
Now officially through 41 games of an 82-game season, the Bucks hold an NBA-best 35-6 record and a 6.5-game lead in the Eastern Conference. Their next game will be Tuesday at home against the New York Knicks. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.