Bucks center involved in on-court fight

Milwaukee Bucks center Thon Maker was playing for team Australia in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game against the Philippines.

Australia was leading the Philippines by 31 points when a fight broke out on the court.

Maker was on the floor when the altercation began and found himself squarely in the middle of things.

For his part in the altercation, Maker was one of four Australian players ejected. A total of nine players from the Philippines were thrown out as well and then had to continue with only three Filipino players remaining on the floor. Two of the three players for the Philippines fouled out and the game was then called with Australia leading 89-53.

Bucks need role players to step up in Boston

“Another hard-fought game, physical game. Found a way to close it out. They made their run in the third, carried it over in the fourth, but like I said, we found a way to close it out. 2-2, headed to Boston.”

That’s how Bucks interim coach Joe Prunty opened his press conference on Sunday following Milwaukee’s 104-102 win over the Celtics. Heading back to Boston for a Game 5 was always part of the plan for the Bucks in terms of winning the series.

After the first two games in Boston, primarily the blowout loss in Game 2, a return trip to Boston wasn’t guaranteed. When the Bucks lost by 14 points, it seemed as if all chance of Milwaukee advancing to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the first time since 2001 was gone. That Tuesday night it was difficult picturing the Bucks winning a game, nevertheless the next two.

One week later the Bucks will be back in the same building as they were when trying to explain the 14-point loss, this time, they’ll be playing their biggest game of the season. Every game moving forward for Milwaukee becomes the biggest of the year. That’s no secret.

So, what exactly changed between Tuesday night’s loss and Monday morning’s flight back to Boston with a 2-2 split?

The role players off the bench certainly played better in Milwaukee than Boston, which is to be expected. The opposite can be said for Boston’s role players. Sure, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford still put on strong performances. But Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin, two players that played integral roles in the first two games, were unable to elevate their performances on the road.

It’s fair to wonder if Jabari Parker, Matthew Dellavedova, and Thon Maker will be able to replicate their play in Boston. Parker was nearly unplayable in the first two games of the series, and Dellavedova and Maker combined to play a total of less than six minutes.

After the past two games, it’s known that Dellavedova and Maker will both be on the floor plenty in Game 5 in Boston.

Maker has fed off the energy provided by the crowd at home in the past couple of games. He won’t have that benefit in Boston. In fact, Maker may not exactly be the most well-liked player when he steps on the floor on Tuesday night. He was involved in a tie up with Boston center Aron Baynes that will certainly be remembered by Celtics fans.

Dellavedova isn’t a player that should have to worry about being intimidated by the daunting Boston crowd. He’s one of two players on the roster to be the owner of a championship ring. Dellavedova has played in more big moments than everyone on the roster, except for maybe Jason Terry.

Parker, however, was an entirely different player at home than on the road. There’s no real concrete reason why that was the case, either.

“We’ve been saying from the beginning that we need him. He is one of the best scorers in the league and one of the best players. For him to come off the bench for us, it is a huge boost. We just want to be ready and stay locked in,” Khris Middleton said of Parker’s effort on Sunday. “It wasn’t [going] for him on the offensive end early, the defensive end is really what got us going. He came in, he was locked in and did a great job of guarding his man and helping guys.”

In Boston, the Bucks need him to be the same player he was in Games 3 and 4. His scoring output was higher, scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively. But more importantly, Parker’s defensive effort in the first half of Game 4 was arguably the best of his career. He had three blocks and a pair of steals in that half alone. Parker has not had a single game in his entire career with those numbers.

Those three players all had a huge impact in Game 4. When Parker — who was the first player off Milwaukee’s bench — entered the Bucks were trailing 12-5. Milwaukee quickly went on a 6-0 run and outscored Boston 46-23 the rest of the half.

In total, the Bucks were better with the bench players on the floor. Parker, Dellavedova, Maker, and Tony Snell were the only players to post a positive plus/minus. The only starter that wasn’t a negative was Middleton, who was an even zero.

Winning on Tuesday means that the Bucks would have an opportunity to finish off the series in front of a home crowd at the Bradley Center. Milwaukee would also have the opportunity to fulfill the prophecy of Brandon Jennings in 2013.

Lose, well then, the Bucks have their backs against the wall yet again in Game 6.

Each game brings a new pressure that this team has not yet faced. Yes, this core was in a similar situation last year in the postseason against Toronto, but the expectations are different. This team was supposed to win 50 games or more, fight to have home court advantage in the first round and become a legitimate threat to make a deep run in the playoffs.

None of those goals were reached by the Bucks but winning a playoff series for the first time in 18 years would help to erase the fact that the team severely underachieved during the season. They just need to win two more games to make it happen.

Last shots: Bucks 104, Celtics 102

MILWAUKEE – Twenty-five last shots for the 25 minutes played by Bucks forward Jabari Parker in Sunday’s 104-102 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

1. The BMO Harris Bradley Center is in its final days of housing Milwaukee Bucks basketball, but the team made sure on Sunday that at least one more game will take place inside the building they’ve called home since 1988.

2. Milwaukee’s 104-102 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 on Sunday was in doubt until the final buzzer when Marcus Morris’ shot bounced off the rim. This came after Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored his 27th and final point on a tip-in with 5.1 seconds remaining to give the Bucks the lead for good.

3. Milwaukee led by as many as 20 points early in the third quarter, but unlike Game 3, the Celtics were able to find their way back to ultimately take a 100-99 lead in the fourth quarter.

4. Boston’s Jaylen Brown carried his team back into the game as he scored 10 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough for Boston as Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo combined for 50 points for Milwaukee.

5. The Bucks also got strong play off the bench for the second straight game. Jabari Parker, Thon Maker, and Matthew Dellavedova made key contributions for the Bucks.

6. The first half of the game may have been the best of Parker’s career. He scored 12 points on seven shots to bolster the Bucks’ offense. His offensive contributions are something that are expected as it’s widely known that his best attribute is his ability to seemingly score whenever he feels.

7. What needs to be taken away from Sunday’s game – especially the first half – was Parker’s ability to defend. He had a pair of steals, three blocks, and five rebounds in the first half. It was the best he’s looked defensively since he put a Milwaukee uniform on, and it’s not particularly close.

8. “We’ve been saying from the beginning that we need him. He is one of the best scorers in the league and one of the best players. For him to come off the bench for us, it is a huge boost. We just want to be ready and stay locked in,” Middleton said of Parker’s effort on Sunday. “It wasn’t [going] for him on the offensive end early, the defensive end is really what got us going. He came in, he was locked in and did a great job of guarding his man and helping guys.”

9. When Parker entered the game, the Bucks were trailing 12-5. They outscored the Celtics 46-23 in the remainder of the first half. Parker wasn’t on the floor for all of those minutes, obviously, but with him on the floor the Bucks were a plus-19. That was second on the team, falling behind only Thon Maker.

10. Playoff Thon may officially become a thing. At least inside the Bradley center it is. On Sunday Maker played nearly 31 minutes, which is the second most time on the floor he has gotten in a single game in his career.

11. Offensively, Maker scored eight points, including a pair of threes, which is nothing much to write home about. On the defensive end of the floor, however, Maker was a force again as he finished with five blocked shots for the second consecutive game.

12. Friday night, Dellavedova made a difference defensively, frustrating Boston guard Terry Rozier. Sunday was much of the same in terms of his contribution. He also had one play that can be looked at as a key reason as to why the Bucks came away with the victory.

13. Middleton scored to put the Bucks up 22-17 at with 1.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter. It was a relatively routine, with a nice pump fake to split the Jayson Tatum and Shane Larkin double-team. It’s what came next that set the tone for the rest of the first half.

14. Morris took the ball out of bounds after the Middleton make, and in an attempt to save time — and potentially get a shot up before the quarter expired – rolled it to Larkin. This was the first mistake on the play. Larkin lost track of Dellavedova, which was the second mistake Boston made. Dellavedova raced in, picked up the ball, and threw up a shot off the glass as time expired that bounced in to give the Bucks a 24-17 advantage after one.

15. It’s easy to pick out a single play in a one possession game and say “well, if this would have happened different then things would have been different.” This was the exact play in this game for the Celtics.

16. That’s not to say the Bucks would not have won the game if that play had never happened, there’s no telling how the teams would have executed down the stretch if the Bucks had two less points to their total. But in a game that finished with just a margin of two, it’s easy to look at that winning play and attribute it as a big reason why the Bucks won.

17. Every opportunity that Maker has, he uses to fire up the crowd at the Bradley Center. It seems as if he feeds off that energy, which is not something uncommon for role players. The challenge will be for Maker, Dellavedova, and Parker to replicate this effort inside the TD Garden in Boston on Tuesday for Game 5.

18. This was a great win for Milwaukee, make no mistake about it. There are still plenty of areas to improve for them, however. The end of game execution needs to be better than it was on Sunday, specifically.

19. Eric Bledsoe had another poor game but felt the need to be the one dictating offense as time winds down. That needs to be a time when Antetokounmpo has the ball in his hands. If it isn’t Antetokounmpo, it needs to be Middleton at the very least.

20. With 1:11 left in regulation, and the Bucks clinging to a 99-98 lead, Bledsoe held onto the ball until there were six seconds remaining on the shot clock. He then tried to get the ball to Antetokounmpo who had the smaller Jayson Tatum posted up but threw the ball out of bounds.

21. Things like this simply cannot happen down the stretch for the Bucks if they expect to win on the road. Immediately following this is when Boston took the lead.

22. While Antetokounmpo ended up with the game-winning basket by virtue of a tip-in as the clock ticked down, it came off of a missed shot by Malcolm Brogdon.

23. Look, Brogdon is a nice player, and hit a huge 3-pointer a couple possessions prior, but Antetokounmpo needs to be the one with the ball in his hands. On that possession, arguably the most important of this season, he didn’t.

24. The most popular saying around the state of Wisconsin for the past 10 days has undeniably been “Bucks in six.” Sunday’s win ensures that there will be a Game 6 in Milwaukee on Thursday, but for the one-time prediction of Brandon Jennings to come true, the Bucks need to find a way to steal Game 5 on the road.

25. The Bucks and Celtics will play in Game 5 of this best-of-seven series on Tuesday night in Boston. The start time has not yet been announced by the NBA. Talk to you then.

Cleveland throttles the Bucks in summer league opener

Milwaukee got its summer league schedule underway in Las Vegas on Friday night, and it wasn’t pretty, as the Bucks got smacked 82-53 by Cleveland.

First-round pick D.J. Wilson scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out a pair of assists in his first action.

“It felt good,” Wilson said of debut. “The first few minutes I was pretty anxious, but once I got those out of the way I felt fine out there.”

Fellow rookie, Bronson Koenig, struggled to get much going on the offensive end. The former Badgers guard made just one of the six shots he took, including going 0 of 5 from beyond the arc.

But he was far from alone in that respect. Milwaukee hit just 15.4-percent of its 3-pointers, with Thon Maker connecting on the team’s first attempt before they missed the next 14 from the outside.

Rashad Vaughn scored a team-high 12 points, with Gary Payton II chipping in 10 and Travis Trice adding seven.

The Cavs were led by Edy Tavares with 12 points, while former Syracuse guard Andrew White scored 11.

Milwaukee will not play on Saturday, but will be back in action on Sunday night against Brooklyn.

Bucks Summer League action kicks off tonight

The NBA draft has come and gone and NBA Summer Leagues are underway. The Milwaukee Bucks will start their Summer League season tonight at 5:30 CST against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the game can be seen on ESPN 2. The Bucks will play in the Las Vegas Summer League that goes from July 7th-17th. The Bucks have put together an interesting roster for this exhibition season.

Fans should recognize a number of players on the Bucks roster this summer. Thon Maker will be playing in his second Summer League after playing well down the stretch last season. Maker earned valuable minutes and showed great potential in the playoffs last season for the Bucks. He will be joined by Rashad Vaughn, who will be making his third appearance on the Milwaukee summer team. This should be a make or break season for Vaughn as his contract has a club option after this up-coming season. Vaughn was seen as a boom or bust talent after coming out of UNLV as a freshman and hasn’t had much impact in his first two seasons with the Bucks. Gary Payton II will also be playing for the Bucks this summer after being picked up towards the end of last season.

The Bucks will have first round pick from this years NBA draft  D.J. Wilson on the roster. The Michigan product should have plenty of opportunities to show Bucks fans why the organization may have reached to draft him. Milwaukee is also hoping to work out an entry for newest acquired Buck Sterling Brown. Brown’s rights were officially acquired by the Bucks yesterday after the league’s front office approved the trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

To the excitement of many Wisconsin basketball fans, Bronson Koenig will also be on the roster this summer for the Bucks. Koenig was the first player in Bucks history to ever sign a 2-way contract. Joining Koenig will be another familiar face from the Big Ten Conference, Travis Trice. Trice is the brother of current Badger D’Mitrik Trice and formerly played under Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Another guy on the roster that fans may recognize is Reggie Upshaw Jr. He lead the 15th seeded Middle Tennessee State team to a win over the 2nd seeded Michigan State Spartans last march.

Many experts around the league think that the Bucks Summer League roster is filled with NBA potential. Many believe that lots of these players will ultimately make the Bucks new G-League team, the Wisconsin Herd.

Bucks roll past Golden State

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to be a bit of nuisance for the Golden State Warriors. Coach Mike Budenholzer’s team went into Oracle Arena on Thursday night and came away with a 134-111 victory. They became the first Eastern Conference team to win at Golden State since they did it last March. Milwaukee was paced by […]

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Bucks set multiple records in win over Kings

The Milwaukee Bucks set multiple records on Sunday afternoon and remain undefeated at the Fiserv Forum after a 144-109 win over the Sacramento Kings. The Bucks set a franchise record with 22 made three-pointers in a game and a season high 144 points. Milwaukee is now 8-1 on the season, which is the team’s best […]

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Bucks suffer first loss, 117-113 in Boston

There are no more unbeaten teams left in the NBA. The Celtics saw to that on Thursday, beating Milwaukee 117-113 in Boston to drop the Bucks to 7-1 on the year and forcing them to settle for tying the best start in team history. Milwaukee trailed by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter […]

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Giannis Antetokounmpo in NBA’s concussion protocol

The match up of the last two undefeated teams in the NBA will be played without the two biggest names. The Toronto Raptors announced that forward Kawhi Leonard would not play Monday night in Milwaukee as part of a planned night off for rest. Leonard missed much of last season when he was with San […]

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Bucks run winning streak to five

The Milwaukee Bucks won yet again on Friday night. This time it didn’t take an overwhelming effort from either Giannis Antetokounmpo or Khris Middleton, as both players were on the court for less than 26 minutes. Antetokounmpo finished the 125-95 victory over Minnesota with 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes played. Middleton […]

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Bucks officially acquire the draft rights to Sterling Brown

The Milwaukee Bucks have officially acquired the draft rights to Sterling Brown from the Philadelphia 76ers for cash. The trade was reported the night of the NBA draft, but wasn’t made official by the league until this afternoon. Brown was selected 46th overall by the 76ers in the second round of this years NBA draft. This was two spots ahead of the Bucks second round pick (Sindarius Thornwell), which they sent to the Clippers for cash.

Sterling Brown is the brother to former NBA player Shannon Brown. Brown stands 6’6″ and weighs 225 pounds. He played four seasons at SMU and played in a program record 136 games. Brown averaged 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. He also led the American Athletic Conference in three point shooting, shooting 44.9% from three point range. Brown was selected to the All-AAC Second Team.

Brown has been called a taller, longer Malcolm Brogdon. He hasn’t mastered any single skill, but doesn’t have any particular weakness in his game. Brown doesn’t jump out as explosive at first glance, but according to some scouts is a very athletic and lanky guard.

The Bucks are hoping to get Brown on their Summer  League roster as soon as possible. The Bucks Summer League schedule stats tomorrow, Friday, July 7th, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Other Bucks participating in Summer League competition are Thon Maker, Rashad Vaughn, former Wisconsin basketball player Bronson Koenig, and the Bucks first round pick D.J. Wilson.

Bucks roll past Golden State

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to be a bit of nuisance for the Golden State Warriors. Coach Mike Budenholzer’s team went into Oracle Arena on Thursday night and came away with a 134-111 victory. They became the first Eastern Conference team to win at Golden State since they did it last March. Milwaukee was paced by […]

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Bucks set multiple records in win over Kings

The Milwaukee Bucks set multiple records on Sunday afternoon and remain undefeated at the Fiserv Forum after a 144-109 win over the Sacramento Kings. The Bucks set a franchise record with 22 made three-pointers in a game and a season high 144 points. Milwaukee is now 8-1 on the season, which is the team’s best […]

0 comments

Bucks suffer first loss, 117-113 in Boston

There are no more unbeaten teams left in the NBA. The Celtics saw to that on Thursday, beating Milwaukee 117-113 in Boston to drop the Bucks to 7-1 on the year and forcing them to settle for tying the best start in team history. Milwaukee trailed by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter […]

0 comments

Giannis Antetokounmpo in NBA’s concussion protocol

The match up of the last two undefeated teams in the NBA will be played without the two biggest names. The Toronto Raptors announced that forward Kawhi Leonard would not play Monday night in Milwaukee as part of a planned night off for rest. Leonard missed much of last season when he was with San […]

0 comments

Bucks run winning streak to five

The Milwaukee Bucks won yet again on Friday night. This time it didn’t take an overwhelming effort from either Giannis Antetokounmpo or Khris Middleton, as both players were on the court for less than 26 minutes. Antetokounmpo finished the 125-95 victory over Minnesota with 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes played. Middleton […]

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Milwaukee takes out Detroit 108-105 in overtime

The Milwaukee Bucks closed out the month of March in style, overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 108-105 in overtime on Friday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out nine assists, while Khris Middleton added 25 points. But it was the play of rookie Thon Maker that had everyone talking following a career-high 23 points from the first-round pick.

“Unbelievable,” Antetokounmpo said of the 7-foot-1 Maker. “The way he plays. The way he practices. The way he learns. The way he gets better every day. It’s unbelievable.”

Milwaukee led by as many as 17 points in the first quarter only to see the Pistons claw away and eventually retake the lead in the third quarter. Detroit built on that advantage and led by 10 with 4:58 remaining in the game. That’s when Antetokounmpo took charge, scoring 10 of Milwaukee’s next 12 points to help the game get to overtime tied at 95.

In the extra period, it was a pair of big 3-pointers that got Milwaukee across the line for the win. First, Maker drilled one with 1:58 left to take a three-point lead. Maker had some motivation to take – and make – the shot courtesy of Antetokounmpo.

“If you hesitate, I’m going to punch you,” Antetokounmpo told Fox Sports Wisconsin of his message for Maker. “So shoot the ball whenever you get it.”

The shot was big, but his offensive rebound less than a minute later proved to be the dagger the Bucks needed, as his tip out off a missed shot ended up in the hands of Middleton, who drilled the 3-pointer.

It was win No. 14 in the month of March, the most in a single month for the franchise since 1971, and it gave them the No. 5 playoff spot to themselves with just seven games remaining.

Milwaukee will take on Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Antetokounmpo’s career-high 41 not enough in 122-114 loss to Lakers

MILWAUKEE — One day after learning forward Jabari Parker would be gone for the season (torn ACL), the Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t muster enough for a comeback, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers 122-114.

The night started off on the wrong foot, with Milwaukee allowing a season-high 47 points in the opening quarter. From there, the Bucks tried to battle back the rest of the night, eventually using a 14-0 fourth-quarter run to close the gap to five. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 41 points, adding eight rebounds and six assists in the loss.

”At the end of the day, you just want to win, especially against a team like the Lakers,” Antetokounmpo said. ”They aren’t a playoff team.”

Nick Young led the way for Los Angeles with 26 points, converting on the rare four-point play twice in one night.

”I was thinking, OK, this is one of them nights,” Young said.

It marked the 12th loss in 14 outings for the Bucks, with rookie Thon Maker replacing Parker in the lineup. Maker contributed seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes of playing time. Khris Middleton came off the bench to play nearly 21 minutes, scoring six points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Middleton won’t make the trip to Indiana Saturday night when they visit the Pacers at 6 p.m.

Rally falls short as Bucks fall to Celtics in overtime 112-108

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks closed a 69-53 gap late in the third quarter, but ultimately fell in overtime to the Boston Celtics Saturday night 112-108.

Greg Monroe scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, adding 13 rebounds in his role off the bench. Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks 21 hard-earned points, but Milwaukee couldn’t overcome a 42-27 score after the first quarter of action.

Isaiah Thomas provided 37 points for the Celtics, scoring at least 20 points for the 31st game in a row. Former Marquette standout Jae Crowder sealed the win for Boston with four clutch free throws in the final 28 seconds of overtime.

”It’s always special when I come here and we get a win,” Crowder said. ”I see a lot of familiar faces around the building, including the ushers, stuff like that. It’s always a great feeling to come back.”

Rookie Thon Maker got his second career start Saturday night, replacing Miles Plumlee and providing the team with four points and two rebounds in 10 minutes of action.

Parker powers Bucks past Mavs 88-74

MADISON, Wis. — The Dallas Mavericks were without Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris, so Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker took advantage with 21 points in an 88-74 preseason victory at the Kohl Center in Madison Saturday night.

Parker led the game in scoring, adding six rebounds and a number of dunks in his effort. Next in scoring for Milwaukee was Greg Monroe, who was seen by many as a trade piece this offseason. He converted on all four of his free throw attempts and created four Mavericks turnovers.

“[Parker is] a very talented scorer,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said after the win. “When he gets out on the break, he’s as good as anyone at finishing and he showed that tonight. I thought he let the game come to him, he didn’t force anything.”

The Bucks didn’t get much from Michael Carter-Williams, however, following reports the Sacramento Kings had nixed a trade in exchange for Ben McLemore. MCW tallied just three points on 1-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes of action. He also generated just one assist.

Rookie Thon Maker made his preseason debut following a wrist injury to log nine points and four rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting. Maker recalled making his first shot following the game.

 

The Mavericks were paced by Dwight Powell’s 15 points, converting on 6-of-8 from the floor.