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Bucks Discover Untapped Bench Potential in Monday’s Win

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A Giannis-less Bucks team found a way to beat a widely respected Toronto Raptors team Monday night to match their best franchise start back in 1971-72. Milwaukee’s depth is especially noticeable after Monday’s thrashing, setting things up to be quite exciting upon Giannis’ return.

Bucks Remains Only Unbeaten Team

Monday evening brought a first for the NBA. The first time that two 6-0 teams met to decide who would remain on top of the East and the Bucks did not disappoint– defeating the Raptors 124-109. With Giannis Antetokounmpo under concussion protocol, it was going to take the whole team to step up to earn the victory, which everyone did.

With seven players in double digits, Ersan Illyasova lead the way in Giannis’ absence with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Early on, it was clear that Khris Middleton took the role of orchestrating the court. Moving the ball around to find the best open shot was his goal and he succeeded in doing so. Later, he caught fire, hitting four three-pointers to give him a total of 14 points when all was said and done. If this game showed anything, it is that Giannis is a big piece to their success, but he isn’t the only piece.

Maker And DiVincenzo Step Up

The minutes that Giannis would otherwise have were picked up by Thon Maker. Adding 11 points and seven rebounds, Maker made the best of his first real minutes of the season. Thon’s role with the team is somewhat unclear, but contributions like this provide additional depth in Mike Budenholzer‘s system.

When it comes to rookie Donte DiVincenzo, his impact on the court is not going unseen. His ability to be everywhere on the court, gives him the advantage for endless opportunities to be in arms reach of the ball. Scoring 12 points with eight rebounds, the rook gives a spark off the bench that has quickly built trust with his team and the fans.

Kawhi Leonard Out For Rest

With the former NBA Finals MVP out for Toronto, some pressure was taken off of the Bucks with not having to worry about where the Klaw was. That did not make this talented Raptors team any less of a threat, however. The Bucks stuck with the gameplan and made sure it was known that this team is the real deal. Making 19 three pointers — tying the franchise record — showcased the emergence of Milwaukee’s shooters. Even with Giannis out, there was plenty of scoring to go around.

A nearly sold out Fiserv Forum witnessed that having a legit head coach in Mike Budenholzer can make a big difference. As the Clutch Crew chanted Budenholzer’s name towards the end of the game, Milwaukee has realized the potential this team brings to the league. Of course, this matchup will be a different story next time when Leonard and Antetokounmpo are both on the floor, but don’t expect the gameplan to change. They will be lighting it up from downtown while being fundamentally sound on the defensive end. It is early on, but if anyone think that the Bucks cannot threaten any team in the league, then they are sadly mistaken.

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About Melissa Colton

Melissa was born and raised in West Allis, WI, but currently resides in Milwaukee. She is a veteran of the United States Army and has a Bachelors Degree in Sport Management. She has worked in both the sports and music industry. Anything from Wisconsin, sports, food, and beer is her happy place.

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