5 Takeaways: Bucks put Portland to rest early


The Milwaukee Bucks pulled away from the Portland Trailblazers in the first half en route to an impressive 103-91 victory. Milwaukee wraps up their 4-game West Coast road trip with an impressive 3-1 record.

  1. This was Eric Bledsoe’s best performance as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. It was no secret coming into this game that E-Bled would have his hands full against Portland Trailblazers star, Damian Lillard. However, Bledsoe held his own on both ends of the floor and was rewarded with his best game in a Bucks uniform. The speedy point guard finished with 25 points and 4 assists, including a bevy of silky smooth midrange jump shots and acrobatic finishes at the rim. More importantly, he shut down opposing point guard Damian Lillard. Lillard finished with a hard-earned 18 points on 7-16 shooting. Eric Bledsoe’s elite speed is working wonders for Milwaukee’s defense.
  2. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s defensive prowess was on full display tonight. It was a rough offensive night for the Greek Freak, scoring 20 points on 7-20 shooting. However, he stuffed that stat sheet with 3 steals and 3 blocks (including 2 chase-down blocks on back-to-back possessions). Giannis’ defensive rotation tonight was truly remarkable. He was able to harass the ball handler out of the pick and roll, then recover when a pass was made to meet them at the summit. This was arguably his best defensive performance of the season.
  3. Milwaukee has been less aggressive on defense, and it has paid dividends. Instead of trapping opposing ball handlers out of the pick and roll, Milwaukee instead laid back and played the passing lanes. Milwaukee’s length posed tremendous problems for the Blazers, as they turned the ball over 19 times. The Bucks swiped 11 steals and were able to translate them into easy buckets. Milwaukee plays at their best when they are causing live-ball turnovers and getting out in transition. The Bucks also held Portland to 42.2% from the field and 26.3% from three
  4. John Henson held his own against a tough matchup with Jusuf Nurkic. The Bosnian Beast got off to a quick start, but Henson didn’t back down. J-Hook finished with a much needed 13 point, 10 rebound double-double. It has become increasingly more obvious that Henson is the best center on Milwaukee’s roster, and he has benefitted tremendously from having a set role as a starter. Although he may be inconsistent at times, he has been playing at a high level and has earned his starting spot.
  5. Khris Middleton played like an All-Star tonight. Middleton finished with 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists on 10-17 shooting. He came out of the gates firing, scoring 12 points in the first frame and didn’t look back. Khris looked very comfortable out there tonight and was hitting from all spots on the floor. He was able to take full advantage of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum when they were defending him. This was a quietly dominant performance for the Milwaukee Bucks silent assassin.


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