Despite a somewhat messy performance, the Milwaukee Bucks are starting the New Year how they ended the last, on top.
After putting up quite a fight last night with a 7-0 run over Milwaukee, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally gave out as Giannis led his Bucks to a 106-104 victory. Antetokounmpo racked up yet another game-high with 32 points, complimented with a monstrous 17 rebounds and four assists.
However, Milwaukee’s victory wasn’t as sweet as previous ones with the Eastern Conference’s top team missing their first six shots until Antetokounmpo dunked the first basket at 8:24 in the first quarter. The Bucks seemed sloppy, uncoordinated and just not quite in the game as they achieved a game-high 17 turnovers compared to the Wolves 11.
Ending the first quarter in a 23-19 deficit due to a poor 9-for-24 in shooting, the Bucks regrouped and play seemed to settle out with some work. After three and-one opportunities early in the second quarter, two for the Greek Freak and one for Brook Lopez, the Bucks were back on top of their throne only to be knocked straight back off after a string of threes by the Wolves.
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Entering the third with a very tight 52-51 score on the board, the Bucks took their one-point advantage and ran with it, literally. Eric Bledsoe acted as the catalyst in a tidy 10-4 run and Giannis went on a trip of his own, capping it off with a clean three, to secure a 10-point lead. Bledsoe wrapped up the night with 10 points and six rebounds, shooting at 40% from the field.
The final quarter began again in Milwaukee’s favour again with a six-point lead and, although Minnesota wasn’t letting go that easy, an and-one by Antetokounmpo and a dagger three by Khris Middleton secured the lead once and for all. A defensive rebound by Lopez with 1.1 seconds on the clock and final block by Antetokounmpo saw them usher the Wolves off the court.
Shabazz Napier led the Wolves offence with a team-high 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists. The 28-year-old guard has put on quite a show the past couple of games, leading their victory over the Knicks on New Year’s Eve with a season-high 24 points, adding eight assists, three rebounds, and two steals in 34 minutes.
The Bucks improve their record once more to 31-5 as the Wolves slip to 12-21.