When you live in Milwaukee, getting to travel almost anywhere during the winter is a nice break from the weather. The Bucks got the opportunity to have an in-season vacation and traveled to Paris, France for the NBA’s first ever game overseas. The players got to enjoy their time outside of practice all week which led fans to the question: will they be ready to play a real basketball game?
For three quarters, the answer was seemingly no. But consistently active defense kept Milwaukee within distance of the Charlotte Hornets to eventually pull away down the stretch, winning 116-103.
The Hornets haven’t been a particularly spectacular team this season. They sit 4.5 games out of the eighth seed in the East and have only really made noise when second-year player Devonte’ Graham has scored 40+ points.
At no point in this game did Charlotte play differently than they had all season. They played like a 15-31 team. However, so did Milwaukee for awhile.
The difference lies in the play makers. For the Hornets, Malik Monk tried his very best to be that guy. His 31/5/5 led the team but was left out to dry by his teammates for a majority of the final period, including Graham who didn’t score in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks certainly aren’t short of playmakers. A final push in the last five minutes of regulation from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, and Kyle Korver buried Charlotte to coast to victory.
Giannis got his stats filled in 32 minutes with 30/16/6 but remains struggling from the free throw line, hitting just 4-7. Bledsoe took the sidekick role over Khris with Giannis. Bled had 20/3/5 with two blocks and two steals on 7-15 shooting, All-Star worthy if you ask me.
Khris wasn’t absent either. His stats only show 14/9/4 but his shots were timely and got the Bucks out of a funk when needed. Another All-Star, and that shouldn’t be debatable.
Overall, it was the defense that go the job done for Milwaukee. Charlotte finished with 37/36% splits and were out-rebounded 53-39 by the Bucks. No matter how rusty or sloppy they are, the Bucks can overcome just about anything with numbers like that.
Milwaukee overcame 27% three-point shooting by hitting 50% of their shots from the field. In the end, a win is a win. It all counts the same.
The Bucks improve to 40-6 on the season and will get another couple days off for travel before they return home to Fiserv Forum for a Monday night game against the Washington Wizards. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.