Recap: Led by Bucks forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, Milwaukee was able to edge out James Harden and the Houston Rockets, 127-114. This was a tremendous game to watch, as Giannis and Harden were going back and forth trading spectacular plays. When these two teams met last week, the Bucks were unable to get anything going offensively and defensively. Tonight, the offense was clicking and the Bucks got stops when they needed them.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (31pts, 7reb, 3ast, 0stl, 4blk, 5to): The Greek Freak came out on fire in the second period, which really set the tone and allowed the Bucks to build a 14 point lead before halftime. Giannis was his usual self tonight, making flashy plays on both sides of the ball. In the second frame, Jason Terry threw up a beautiful lob pass to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who used his full 7’3 wingspan to grab it and power it down. I did not think he would finish the dunk, Giannis amazes us every night in new ways. The Greek Freak effectively out dueled the front-runner for MVP in James Harden. With 24 seconds left in the game, and the Bucks up by 10, Giannis pulled up from deeeeep over Nene and hit nothing but net. Watching hi hit the dagger was sweet, but his reaction to making the three was even sweeter. He ran down the court and mimicked James Harden’s shimmy dance move. That swagger almost reminds me of (gulp) former Bucks guard Brandon Jennings. We all know how great Giannis is, and he knows is too. This was a must-win for the Bucks, and the Greek Freak did all he could do to lead the Bucks to victory. Grade: 100%
Jabari Parker (28pts, 8reb, 7ast, 3stl, 1blk, 3to): After being benched in the previous game in Miami, Jabari Parker came out in attack mode. He was definitely playing with a chip on his shoulder, and he brought his “A” game tonight. Early on, he was looking to get his teammates involved in the offense and he let his offensive game come to him. We all are well aware of his ability to score the basketball, but his facilitation was on point tonight. Defensively, it is still a struggle for Jabari, but it’s hard to knock on him especially when he puts up ridiculous stat-lines like this. He was clearly up to the challenge tonight, maybe he should get benched more often (just kidding, of course). It is clear how much potential Jabari Parker has, and it was on full display tonight. Him and Giannis were instrumental tonight in leading the Bucks to victory. Seeing him bounce back like this after a disappointing road trip is a huge confidence booster for not only himself, but the Bucks as well. Grade: 97%
Matthew Dellavedova (16pts, 3reb, 7ast, 0stl, 0blk, 3to): This marks two straight very solid games for point guard Matthew Dellavedova. Delly showed great patience as a passer, he did not force any passes and delivered the ball right where his teammates needed it. His jump shot was pure tonight, and when he plays well the Milwaukee Bucks usually win. Matthew Dellavedova has also been disappointing this year, but he is definitely showing signs of life. The Bucks need him to pick it up, and I believe he is turning it around. He has great chemistry with his teammates, and it’s great to see it start paying dividends. Grade: 90%
Miles Plumlee (10pts, 2reb, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk, 1to): Miles Plumlee has been buried in the Milwaukee Bucks bench all season, but tonight he got the start for John Henson. Early on Plumlee made a huge impact on offense, and defense. He showed some great flashes on offense, including a monster alley-oop jam which he then followed with a huge block on defense. He has been frustrating to watch this season, but he played well tonight in his 20 minutes of action. He filled in admirably for John Henson, who seems to regress every game (ugh). Hopefully this is the start of a good thing for the Bucks. Change is good. Grade: 85%
Next up: The Bucks host a Joel Embiid-less 76ers on Wednesday, hoping to avenge their loss last week to these same Philadelphia 76ers.