It’s been a tough week for basketball fans around the world. The passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others has cast a shadow over those who love to watch, coach, and play basketball. Players and coaches alike have had a difficult time focusing on the games at hand and teams have been participating in a tribute to Kobe by taking a 24-second violation to start the game followed by an 8-second backcourt violation to represent Kobe’s two numbers, 8 and 24.
The Tuesday night game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards started with the Bucks taking the 24 and Washington the 8. What ensued the next 47:28 was a scoring extravaganza.
Without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks played through Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe to take down the 15-31 Washington Wizards, 151-131.
151 points is the most scored by the Bucks this season. After a 42-point first quarter, Milwaukee followed it up with a 46-point second quarter, the most scored in any quarter this season for the Bucks. The lead over the Wizards was as high as 32 in the first half and sat at 25 at the half.
What seemed to be a game that was all but over within the first few minutes of the game saw a resurgence by Washington. A 41-point third quarter from the Wizards was led by Bradley Beal, who finished the night with 47 points on 15-31 shooting.
Washington cut the deficit into single digits at one point in the fourth quarter, but a couple Donte DiVincenzo corner threes and continued dominance from Khris Middleton sealed the deal and gave the Bucks a 20-point win.
The Wizards sport the worst defensive rating in the league, so scoring wasn’t exactly a worry for Milwaukee before the game. However, Washington has a plethora of capable scorers besides Beal such as Davis Bertans, Ish Smith, and Isaiah Thomas.
Khris and Bled made sure they wouldn’t catch up after the first quarter lead was held.
Kha$h Money Middleton dropped a career-high 51 points on 16-26 shooting, 7-10 from deep, and 12-12 from the line along with ten rebounds and six assists. He became the third Buck in history to score 50+ points and grab 10+ rebounds, joining Kareem and Giannis.
He also became the only player in NBA history to score 50+ points while shooting 70%+ and 100% from the line with a minimum of ten attempts on each.
If there was any question as to whether Khris deserves to be an All-Star, it’s been put to rest now. His incredible night largely overshadowed Bledsoe’s best game of the season.
Eric Bledsoe scored his own 34 points on 11-20 from the field with six rebounds and ten assists. Early on, it looked like he was the Buck that was on their way to a fifty-burger. Still, he did everything he needed to and more to secure a victory.
Giannis missed this game to due shoulder soreness and it isn’t expected to hold him out of their next game on Friday. Milwaukee improved to 41-6 on the season and are riding a nine-game win streak. The Bucks will take on the banged up Denver Nuggets on Friday. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. CT.