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.

Bucks top Lakers 98-90 for second straight win

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks won their second game in as many nights on Saturday, defeating the Lakers 98-90. The win moves the Bucks back to the .500 mark on the season, at 6-6.

Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to play at an MVP-caliber level. He had 33 points and 15 rebounds on the night for Milwaukee. He was one of five players for the Bucks to reach double-figures in scoring. New acquisition Eric Bledsoe had 11 points in his second game as a member of the Bucks.

Lakers’ rookie Lonzo Ball did make history for Los Angeles. He became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists in the loss for the Lakers.

Milwaukee will be in action next when they take on the Memphis Grizzles at home Monday night.

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.

Milwaukee Bucks fall to Detroit 105-96

DETROIT | The Milwaukee Bucks losing skid hit three games on Friday night in Detroit. They fell to the Pistons 105-96. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points, but was only able to add in four rebounds and three assists on the night.

Antetokounmpo did get help from guard Malcolm Brogdon. He had a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists. Milwaukee’s biggest issue was the lack of scoring off the bench, however. They only were able to get 14 points from reserves. Matthew Dellavedova had nine points and Then Maker had five. Detroit doubled their bench scoring, totaling 28 points from their reserves.

Detroit was lead by center Andre Drummond who finished with 24 points, including a 14-of-16 mark from the free throw line. Guard Avery Bradley also had a strong game, he finished with 23 points on the night.

Milwaukee is in action next on Tuesday night when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers. Cleveland won the previous matchup between the two teams this year, 116-97 back on October 20 in Milwaukee.

Bucks fall to Thunder 110-91

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-91 on Tuesday night. Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo’s effort wasn’t enough to get past reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, along with Thunder newcomers Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

Antetokounmpo finished the night with 28 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, but was unable to get much help from his teammates. He was the only member of the Bucks to hit double-figures in scoring. Notably, forward Chris Middleton’s struggles continued. He only scored nine points on the night, missing 10 of his 13 attempted shots.

Westbrook didn’t do most of his damage in the scoring column for Oklahoma City, but he was able to play a complete game. He nearly finished with a triple-double coming up an assist short. His final line had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. George was highest in the scoring column for the Thunder. He finished with 20 points, while Anthony and forward Jeramy Grant each finished with 17 points. In total, Oklahoma City had five players in double-digits scoring.

The loss drops Milwaukee to 4-3 on the season. They’re in action on Wednesday night in Charlotte against the Hornets. Tip-off is at 7PM.

Bucks top Hawks 117-106

ATLANTA | The Milwaukee Bucks improved to 4-2 with a 117-106 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon.

The win was in large part thanks to another strong effort from forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. He had 33 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in the win. Milwaukee also got help from forward Chris Middleton, who finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists on the day.

In all, the Bucks totaled five players in double-figures scoring wise. Forward John Henson and guard Rashad Vaughn had 12 points each, and starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon had 16.

Atlanta was lead by forward Taurean Price, who finished the game with 17 points. The Hawks drop to 1-6 with the loss.

Milwaukee will be in action next on Tuesday evening at home. They host the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Tip-off is at 7PM.

Bucks drop to Celtics 96-89: Last shots

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks turned back the clock in the ‘Return to the MECCA’ game on Thursday night. Their 96-89 loss to the Boston Celtics was played at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, right across the street from their usual home, The BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Milwaukee struggled to find consistency throughout the evening, trailing by as many as 12, and holding a lead as high as seven. The loss drops the Bucks to 3-2 on the young season. Boston moves to 3-2 as well with the win.

Here are 16 last shots for the 16 playoff appearances the Bucks enjoyed while calling the MECCA home from 1968-1988.

1. Milwaukee is a young team that struggled to find a consistent flow throughout the night offensively. There are going to be plenty more nights like this one as the season rolls on. Boston did a good job of containing Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first half, limiting him to only 11 points, three rebounds, and four assists. Celtics’ forward Al Horford was able to force Antetokounmpo into some tough shots, disrupting the entire rhythm of the offense.

2. Milwaukee’s offense is at its best when it’s out in transition. There are times when the Bucks over dribble in the half court, and head coach Jason Kidd said that he thought Thursday was one of those nights. “We had some good looks, I just thought we over-dribbled,” Kidd explained. “I thought the ball just didn’t move tonight as it has in the first couple of games.”

3. Guard Malcom Brogdon agreed with what Kidd had to say about the ball movement after the game. “Just be unselfish. Just move the ball,” Brogdon answered when asked how the team can improve the ball movement. “We have to be conscious of that as the game goes on and shots stop to fall. We get stagnant. We have to know to move the ball and trust each other.”

4. After being pretty much contained in the first half, Antetokounmpo played better after the break.  He totaled 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in the second half. It was there that he looked like the same player fans saw in the first four games.

5. Antetokounmpo’s final stat line for the night was 28 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. He’s had a double-double in all five games so far on the season. He’s also been Milwaukee’s leading scorer in each contest. Antetokounmpo also had three steals and a block on the night.

6. Brogdon returned to action after missing the team’s win over Charlotte on Monday night. He didn’t look bothered at all by his ankle injury that kept him out of that game. Brogdon finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists. He played nearly 36 minutes, second to only Antetokounmpo, who was on the court for 41 minutes Thursday evening.

7. Forward Khris Middleton also had 15 points for Milwaukee, however he was rather inefficient, needing 16 shots to reach that mark. Middleton was 7 of 16 from the floor and only 1 of 3 from behind the arc. He needs to become more consistent shooting the basketball if the Bucks are going to be successful on the offensive end, especially when they struggle to break out into transition.

8. While it can be easy to pick on Middleton’s inconsistent shooting, Milwaukee did have a good night from the outside. The Bucks finished 11-25 from deep, which is a mark that they need to be around more often. If this team can knock down those shots, it gives Antetokounmpo much more room to operate near the basket.

9. A big reason that Boston was able to pull out the win over Milwaukee was the play of Horford. He was outstanding on the offensive end, and did a solid job defending Antetokounmpo. “Horford can move his feet,” Kidd said. “You’ve got to give him credit. They packed the paint and made it extremely tough on Giannis [Antetokounmpo].”

10. Offensively, Horford finished with a team-high 27 points to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. He shot 11 of 14 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. Horford knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter that seemed to be the turning point in the game.

11. “Yeah, I really have to give all the credit to [Boston guard] Marcus Smart on that,” Horford said about his 3-pointers. “He just sees the game in ways that a lot of times we don’t even see it. He recognized that my guy was kind of falling asleep on the weak side. [Smart] got me open there for back-to-back threes and I felt like that was a big turning point in the game.”

12. The second biggest reason that Boston was able to win was the play of guard Kyrie Irving. He finished with 24 points on 10 of 18 shooting, including some incredible maneuvers to the hoop and finishes. Irving is without question one of the best ball-handlers in the NBA, and likely the best below-the-rim finisher in the league today, if not ever. He also had a team-high seven assists.

13. Irving did make news earlier in the day at shoot-around when he made it seem as if he thought the game being played at the MECCA was being played on the original floor from back in the 1970s and 1980s. He caught plenty of grief for that on social media, and deservedly so. While Irving was warming up with about 45 minutes until game time, fans could be heard yelling his way, asking if he was alright out there on the court.

14. Even though he was worried about it beforehand, he did have good things to say following the game. “It was great to see the intimacy of those seats out there as well as the fans kind of being right on top of us,” Irving said. “I enjoy environments like that. It was definitely great to be out there on that floor.”

15. The two teams have already met twice in the first five games of the season, each winning on the road. Obviously, matchups in October shouldn’t be overly looked into, seeing as how much can change between now and the start of the playoffs in April. That being said, a 7-game series between these two teams would be fun for everybody involved.

16. The Bucks will be in action next on Sunday in Atlanta taking on the Hawks (1-4). They return to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Halloween to face reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.