Recap: The Milwaukee Bucks used a fourth quarter surge to regain momentum and defeat the scrappy New York Knicks, 104-93. The win was their 4th in a row which is a season high. The Bucks came out of the gates in a hurry, but trailed for most of the first half due to poor defending. Giannis Antetokounmpo put the team on his back and started taking over the game in the third period. Khris Middleton also provided a steady dose of everything, he’s been excellent since returning from his injury.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (32 pts, 13reb, 7ast, 4stl, 2blk, 1to): Giannis was aggressive from the tip-off, and was rewarded with 4 early steals. He was super disruptive on the defensive end, and he even ripped Kristaps Porzingis of the ball and ran the floor to give Tony Snell a beautiful behind the back left-handed pass for a dunk. Tonight, and like most nights, the Greek Freak was in peak form. He’s playing with a lot more swagger and confidence, and it’s rubbing off on his teammates. The Bucks are clicking at the right time. Grade: 99%
Khris Middleton (18pts, 3reb, 4ast, 1stl, 1blk, 0to): To be clear, Khris Middleton is a very good basketball player. He makes his teammates around him better, and he is the Bucks unsung hero. Middleton’s contributions as a scorer and as a defender cannot be understated. He’s always talking on the court, communicating with his teammates to make sure they’re in the right position to make a play. When asked why the Bucks have been playing so well recently, Giannis responded with, “Khris Middleton.” At plus-9, Middleton can do no wrong as of late. Grade: 86%
Greg Monroe (17pts, 8reb, 3ast, 0stl, 1blk, 1to): The Bucks struggled rebounding the basketball tonight, but without Monroe’s contributions off the bench this game could have had a different outcome. Moose is always hustling and using his wide frame to bully his way to the basket for easy looks. He’s an excellent passer out of the low post and his stock is certainly pointing up as the Bucks make a playoff push. Grade: 83%
Matthew Dellavedova (10pts, 2reb, 3ast, 0stl, 0blk, 3to): Delly was a game high plus-18 versus the Knicks. This was no memorable performance from Dellavedova, but the Bucks will take any contributions from him. His jump shot shows no sign of improvement, and the Bucks will need all they can get from him as they prepare to make a run for the postseason. Grade: 72%
Next up: The Milwaukee Bucks put their 4 game winning streak on the line at home against the Indiana Pacers. This game has huge playoff implications, as the Bucks could take the tiebreaker in the season series with the Pacers.