Eric Bledsoe’s performance was key for Milwaukee’s 94-87 victory in San Antonio Friday night, filling the stat sheet with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
- Bledsoe Elevates Bucks in Debut. Eric Bledsoe’s debut proved his duo with Giannis is sustainable on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. You could see the offensive potential of the two immediately with Bledsoe using his speed to create breakouts that would eventually lead to a finish by himself or Giannis. Defensively, Bledsoe neutralized the point guards of San Antonio, limiting the group to 14 points and seemingly rejuvenated the Bucks defensive intensity. I was very surprised about Bledsoe’s ability to find the open man, finishing with 7 assists on the night. Bledsoe’s performance provided another viable scoring and defensive option that helped the Bucks break their four-game skid against the San Antonio Spurs.
- Defensive Woes Come to Halt. The Bucks defense took a huge step Friday night against the Spurs limiting them to 87 points after a terrible four game losing streak where they gave up an average of 116 points. There was still a struggle for the Center position as there was a visible mistrust with both John Henson and Thon Maker against LaMarcus Aldridge, who led the Spurs with 20 points. This could be a situation where the Bucks take an advantage of the $4.4 million-dollar trade exception granted in the Bledsoe deal and look to upgrade the position.
- The President Improves the Bench. Malcolm Brogdon showed that he is comfortable coming off the bench in light of the Bledsoe move. There was even a portion of the game when he shared the floor with Bledsoe and Delly giving the Bucks an interesting group, featuring ball-handling, defense, and three-point shooting. Malcolm finished with an efficient 9 points, shooting 50% from the floor. This scenario can work for the Bucks again in the future and may lead to more opportunities for Brogdon to shoot and make impact with the second group.
- Freaky Greeky. Giannis Antetokounmpo had another extraordinary game finishing with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. He had some emphatic slams in transition headlined by a lob from Eric Bledsoe and a sweet 180 slam nearly having his head reach the rim. The Bucks demonstrated tonight that they can be a dominant team when they create turnovers and push the ball in transition. In addition to his dunks, he was not hesitant to show off his improved mid-range game, posting defenders in the high post and turning to elevate to hit the shot.
- Intensity is Back! The Bucks intensity was really impressive tonight both offensively and defensively in Bledsoe’s debut. In my opinion, focus was not an issue in San Antonio at any point as Jason Kidd managed the rotations well, using the players in roles that they were originally acquired for. I was impressed with the rebounding and defensive effort for the Bucks, winning the rebounding and turnover battles on the night.