Recap: In a game that saw the Cleveland Cavilers jump ahead by 18 points early, the Bucks clawed all the way back to force overtime. The Milwaukee Bucks ultimately lost in overtime 114-108, but they showed tremendous fight all night against the defending NBA champions.
Jabari Parker (30pts, 9reb, 3ast, 0stl, 0blk, 0to): Jabari Parker really asserted himself early in the game with Giannis Antetokounmpo struggling to get anything going. Parker was playing bully ball all night against the Cavs, constantly banging in the paint for easy buckets. His night was highlighted by a huge dunk while he was driving down the lane on a fast break, Matthew Dellavedova gave Jabari a beautiful lead pass for the slam. He shot 13-25 on the night (no threes), with most of the buckets being close to the basket. With Jabari Parker being extremely aggressive, it has paying dividends for the Bucks. His aggression forces defenses to close down on him in the pain, leaving shooters open on the perimeter. Even on defense, Jabari Parker did a very solid job at containing LeBron James and making it difficult for him to get clean looks at the basket. Jabari gets a lot of heat for his defense, but it’s hard to say that it isn’t getting better as the season rolls on. All facets of his game was clicking, and it was a dominant performance for him. A win would’ve been nice, but the Bucks have another shot at the Cavs tonight. Grade: 93%
Giannis Antetokounmpo (25pts, 13reb, 2ast, 2stl 3blk, 2to): The Greek Freak struggled for most of the night against the Cavilers, but he still managed to fill up the boxscore and put up an impressive line. The Cavs did a solid job at walling off Giannis from driving to the paint, but they couldn’t hold him down forever. He came alive in the fourth, hitting 2 threes and hitting tough shots in the paint. He did shoot only 5/13 and had a hard time finishing at the rim, but Giannis got to the line a career high 15 times, making 13 of them. Giannis unfortunately fouled out late battling LeBron James for a rebound, which didn’t make matters better for the Bucks in crunch time. The Greek Freak was everywhere tonight and had a huge impact on the game, even though he struggled to get much going offensively throughout the game. Grade: 84%
John Henson (14pts, 8reb, 1ast, 2stl, 1blk, 3to): John Henson’s interior defense as been elite as of late, and he displayed great defensive prowess all night against Cleveland. The long arms of John Henson made life difficult for the Cavs, as he was able to successfully alter numerous shot attempts and block shots with ease. With 30 seconds remaining in the game, LeBron tried to drive to the basket and seal the game but he was met by John Henson. He rejected LeBron’s layup attempt into the seats. He made a great defensive rotation after James turned the corner and appeared to have a look at the basket. This was an all-around great performance from Henson, he has been a steady force for the Milwaukee Bucks as of late. The length is real. Grade: 84%
Malcolm Brogdon (6pts, 1reb, 5ast, 1stl, 0blk, 0to, 2 poster dunks): Milwaukee Bucks rookie guard, Malcolm Brogdon ended LeBron James and Kyrie Irving last night wit two huge poster dunks. Joking aside, his two dunks were two of the most athletic plays we will probably ever see from Malcolm Brogdon. His first victim, Kyrie Irving tried to deny his dunk attemp,t but was unsuccessful and as a result, he was given the Presidential Pardon. I did not think I would live to see LeBron James put on a poster, but Brogdon proved me wrong. He took it strong to the basket, and used the rim to shield himself from LeBron lurking for a chase down block. Malcolm Brogdon pulled off a reverse dunk on The King. Let that sink in. Grade: 78%
Next up: The Milwaukee Bucks travel to Cleveland to face the Cavs tonight on a back to back. Sign me up for a playoff series between these two teams.