Bucks 99, Pistons 95; Last shots

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks won their fourth consecutive game Wednesday night 99-95 over the Detroit Pistons. Milwaukee was led by forward Khris Middleton with 27 points on the evening. Detroit got a strong effort from guard Avery Bradley who had a game-high 28 points.

Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t have a game that he has been accustomed to this year, as he spent much of the night in foul trouble. He finished with 21 points on 8-of-16 from the floor. Guard Eric Bledsoe was scoreless in the first half, put poured in 14 second half points to help will Milwaukee to victory.

Here are 16 last shots for the 16 blocks by the Bucks:

1. In the first half, there was a stretch of five or six minutes where the Pistons fell apart. They allowed the Bucks to take the lead thanks to turnovers, blocked shots, and potentially a few missed called by officials. The Bucks took advantage, building their largest lead of the first half at 30-23.

2. During that stretch there were back-to-back possessions stretch that the Pistons looked out of sorts offensively. On the first possession they had a shot that the Pistons thought hit the rim and should have reset the shot clock before the ball went out of bounds last touched by Milwaukee guard DeAndre Liggins. It was ruled that it did not draw iron, and Detroit was forced to inbound the ball with two-tenths of a second remaining on the shot clock.

3. The following possession the Pistons attempted three shots, with the third being emphatically blocked out of bounds by Antetokounmpo. Detroit’s bench thought that the ball had already reached its apex and was on its way down. Guard Ish Smith was irate as well and picked up a technical foul. If Smith hadn’t picked up the technical foul, someone on the Pistons’ bench certainly would have earned it.

4. Eric Bledsoe is still searching to find himself back in game shape for the Bucks. While he’s still a threat anytime he steps on the floor for Milwaukee, it’s going to take some time for the team to thrive with him in the lineup. That sounds odd considering the team hasn’t lost yet while he’s been in uniform, but this group hasn’t scratched the surface of their potential.

5. After a first half where he didn’t score, Bledsoe came up big for Milwaukee in the second half. He opened the third quarter with four quick points as part of a 10-3 run to build a seven point lead for the Bucks. In the fourth quarter he hit the shot that gave Milwaukee the lead back with 42.5 seconds remaining, breaking a 93-93 tie. He was fouled on the next possession and knocked down a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to four. Bledsoe had eight points in the final period.

6. Middleton was fantastic down the stretch for Milwaukee as well. He, like Bledsoe, had eight points in the fourth quarter. While Detroit was fighting back after starting the period down 13, Middleton was able to keep the Pistons at bay at times.

7. Wednesday was the sixth time this season he’s scored 20 or more points on the season. He did so in a team high 40 minutes. He’s been an improved part of the team lately, and been much more consistent than he was at the start of the season.

8. “[I’m] just playing hard. That’s what I noticed over the first couple of games. I don’t think I was playing hard enough,” Middleton said following the win. “I talked to some coaches, my teammates, [Kevin Garnett] also came in and the common things that most of the guys were saying was that [I] needed to play harder. I think it was true. I was thinking too much about other stuff. Now, I just feel like I’m playing hard and not worrying about everything else, which has been working out.”

9. Milwaukee won the game in a fashion the Bucks haven’t shown they’ve been capable of doing so far this season, with a relatively poor performance from Antetokounmpo. He finished the night with 21 points, six rebounds, and a single assist in nearly 35 minutes. While Antetokounmpo’s line would be taken as an above average night for most NBA players, it’s below the standard he’s set for himself this season. He found himself in foul trouble for much of the night, eventually picking up his fifth foul with 3:33 left in the game. The bright side to his foul trouble was it forced head coach Jason Kidd to limit his minutes.

10. “I was trying to get his minutes down to under 35,” Kidd said. “We accomplished that together, Giannis and I. With him getting in foul trouble and me being able to take him out. We are running up his minutes a little bit too high this early in the season, so my goal was to get him under 35. He’s 22 years old. He’s going to make mistakes. Learning to stay out of foul trouble is something he has to get better at, but it ended up helping us tonight.”

11. Kidd was barely able to succeed at keeping Antetokounmpo under 35 minutes. He finished with 34 minutes and 55 seconds on the court, officially.

12. On the defensive end of the court, the Bucks did an outstanding job altering shots around the rim. They finished the night with 16 blocked shots, the highest total an NBA achieved this season. Part of that contributed to the Pistons shooting a higher percentage from behind the three-point line than inside of it.

13. Detroit was 15-of-48 inside the arc (31.2%) and 15-of-37 on three-pointers (40.5%). That’s an uncommon occurrence in the NBA, even in the three-point revolution that’s been experienced league-wide.

14. Milwaukee had two players with four blocks each, as Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker each had a huge impact around the rim. John Henson, Tony Snell, and Bledsoe all each had two apiece, and Liggins and Malcolm Brogdon had one rejection each.

15. It is worth noting that guard Matthew Dellavedova didn’t play for the Bucks with left knee tendinitis. His status is unknown moving forward.

16. The Bucks will be in action again on Saturday in Dallas against the Mavericks.

Bucks win third straight 110-103 over Memphis

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 110-103 Monday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading scorer in the game with 27 points. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists. Tyreke Evans also had 27 points for the Grizzlies.

The Bucks used a fantastic third quarter defensively to take control of the game. They outscored Memphis 26-12 in that period.

While Antetokounmpo was the leading scorer for the Bucks, he was joined by four other teammates in double-figures. Forwards Khris Middleton and John Henson both had 17 points. Newly acquired guard Eric Bledsoe scored 15 points, giving him double-figures in all three games he has played for Milwaukee. Off the bench, Malcolm Brogdon had 10 points to lead the second unit.

The win for Milwaukee is their third straight victory over a four day stretch. The team has not lost since Bledsoe made his debut after being acquired via trade with the Suns.

The Bucks are in action next on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Pistons. Tip-off is at 7pm.

Milwaukee Bucks defeat Spurs 94-87

SAN ANTONIO — The Milwaukee Bucks snapped their four game losing streak by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 94-87 on Friday night on the road. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 28 points and 12 rebounds on the night. Spurs’ forward LaMarcus Aldridge finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Spurs.

Guard Eric Bledsoe made his team debut for Milwaukee, scoring 13 points and totaling seven assists. He was acquired via trade with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday but did not play in Milwaukee’s loss to Cleveland that night. Bledsoe was inserted as a starter and finished with 29 minutes on the floor. He did make his presence known in his first opportunity, knocking down a mid-range jumper with under three minutes to go to seal the game for Milwaukee.

The Bucks are in action next Saturday night at home when they host the Los Angeles Lakers. Tip-off is at 7:30PM.

Milwaukee Bucks lose fourth straight to Cleveland

CLEVELAND — The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night in Cleveland. The Bucks have now dropped four in a row, and five of six since winning three of their first four.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 40 points, nine rebounds and three assists on the night, but he also had eight turnovers. Guard Malcolm Brogdon finished the night with 22 points and Khris Middleton had 22 points and 11 assists.

Cleveland was led by LeBron James and Kevin Love to beat the Bucks. James finished with 30 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds on the night. Love had a season-high 32 points and 16 rebounds. He did a good amount of damage from the free throw line, going 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. Cavaliers also got 20 points from guard J.R. Smith and 10 points from sixth-man Dwyane Wade.

The Bucks were in the news earlier Tuesday when news broke that they traded with the Phoenix Suns for guard Eric Bledsoe. The Bucks sent center Greg Monroe, a protected first-round pick, and a protected 2018 second-round pick. Bledsoe did not play against Cleveland, but is expected to join the team in San Antonio on Wednesday in advance of their matchup with the Spurs on Friday night according to ESPN.

Report: Milwaukee Bucks trade for Eric Bledsoe

The Milwaukee Bucks made the first big splash via trade of the season by acquiring guard Eric Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns according to ESPN. The Bucks have sent Greg Monroe, their protected 2018 first-round pick, and a second-round pick to the Suns in exchange for Bledsoe according to the report.

Bledsoe has only played in three games this season for Phoenix. He left the team after he tweeted that he wanted out of the situation on October 22.

In those three games this year Bledsoe averaged 15.7 points per game. Over his career he has averages of 13.1 points per game, 4.6 assists, and 3.8 rebounds.

The Bucks play in Cleveland Tuesday night, Bledsoe is not expected to be available to play.