Milwaukee defeated Atlanta in a Sunday matinee behind the Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 33 points and Khris Middleton’s 27 points. Here’s five takeaways from Sunday’s victory.
- Giannis does it again. Scoring 30+ points for the fifth time this season, Giannis is truly showing that his consistency on the floor is something that will be a mainstay in the league for years to come. The most impressive thing about his performance on Sunday afternoon was the optics you saw when he pulled up and shot the mid-range jumper. The long lost missing part of his offensive skill-set seemingly is being found game-by-game. Whoever was guarding Giannis from Atlanta was all too slow to defend the Greek Freak, so their defensive strategy was to sink back and dare Giannis to take that shot. So, what did Giannis do? He stepped up, set his feet, and rose up for the mid-range jump-shot and it looked good, and we all know that if Giannis can hit that shot with some consistency he will truly be un-guardable.
- Bucks Beat a Team They Were Clearly Better Than. One of the Bucks problem last season was losing eight games against Eastern Conference teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Those eight wins in the win column would’ve put Milwaukee at 50 wins and the 4-seed last season. The point is that these games against the bottom feeders in the East may not be the ones that are circled on your calendar, but complacency cannot be a factor in these contests as they were last year. Luckily, they did a good job on Sunday of asserting themselves as the clear cut better team and other than a small run by Atlanta in the beginning of the fourth, they controlled the play the whole game.
- John Henson’s Performance Gives Clarity Amongst the Big Men. The play of John Henson has given light to who will be the trusted reserve big to play in important playoff games. Henson put together another impressive stat line against Atlanta, 12PTS/9RBS/3AST/3BLCK. This coming from your backup center no matter who you play against is the boost this team needs to be in contention in games. The most important stat on his line in Atlanta was his 3 blocks. Although Henson fouled out against Atlanta, If he can continue to be a presence in the paint there is no question that he can force teams to shoot outside and limit easy points in the paint.
- Middleton Finds Consistency. Khris Middleton struggled mightily going 0-9 to start off the game against Atlanta, but found his rhythm after that finishing the game 9-19 with 27 points. Middleton since the start of the season hasn’t looked himself offensively missing shots that he has made consistently in years past. But, when Middleton and Giannis can score 60 points between the two as they did Sunday there isn’t many teams that can hang with the Bucks.
- Rashad Vaughn Silences Critics. Rashad Vaughn had an impressive start to Sundays contest vs Atlanta hitting four threes in the first half. Many people are starting to title this game the “Fourth-Year Option” game for Sunday’s performance as the Bucks have until Oct. 31st to pick up his option for next year. It’s no question that Vaughn has been a streaky shooter, but he also hasn’t had consistent playing time since he came into the league. This guy is a scorer and has been since he came out of UNLV, and needs confidence to perform. An extended leash from Coach Kidd will do worlds for Vaughn’s confidence and you saw Sunday that when he is feeling it he can fill it up quickly for a Milwaukee bench that desperately needs a consistent offensive spark.