Bucks Lead

Bucks’ Midpoint Reached with Dominance of Blazers

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“The Bucks have a habit of filling opposing arenas,” observes Jim Paschke, “and then emptying them.” Saturday night, it happened again. A Portland sellout of 19,843 watched the Milwaukee dynasty before the Bucks moved the decimal three places to the left. The Bucks’ 122-101 bust-out completed a 3-1 west coast excursion and improved their record to 35-6 at the season midpoint. This victory ensures the deer are on pace for 70 wins! Wicked passing and superb play by KEG (Khris, Eric, and Giannis) put a frown on Oregonian faces, but another smile for the cream city.

Fighting the Blaze

The Bucks started rough with a FIGHT!

 

Thankfully, not a real fight. The usual Buck roughhousing exemplifies more than the usual winning-team exuberance. Instead, in coach Bud’s second year, Milwaukee’s chemistry and dominance have organically produced a squad almost overly thrilled to play basketball. And that’s no small feat in the grumpy NBA!

When the game started, early, smooth threes by Anthony Tolliver, Damian Lillard, and Carmelo Anthony produced a 14-11 Portland lead. Thankfully, a Middleton trey evened the score, and after five more Buck points, Giannis displayed remarkable marksmanship.

 

The deer kept pace for a 32-24 lead after the first quarter. Then, Giannis’s Gyrostep feasted fans’ eyes.

Although his three-point shooting is improving, basketball’s most dominant player’s greatest strength is still his drives. His speed allows him to elude defenders, while his immense power ensures he overpowers foes foolish enough to impede. And his excellence guaranteed an assertive second half.

Bucks Reroute Trail Blazers

Giannis finished with a +/- of +20, with a team-high 32 points and 17 rebounds. Oh, and he can dunk reasonably well too.

Jon Horst fabulously produced a physically dominant roster that noticeably out-muscled an undersized Portland pretender. Add a 14-to-10 three-point advantage, and the Bucks’ lead climbed to 97-80 after three. Effectively, the game was over. Intelligently, Bud gave his deep bench ample fourth-quarter minutes. Bud’s careful use of his starters prevents excessive wear and will ensure fresh bodies for the playoffs. While the pleased Bucks return to Milwaukee to prepare for the second half, where are they positioned?

Bucks Shouldn’t Blink

With Milwaukee holding the best NBA record, there seems to be little concern. It’s too early to coast to the top seed, however. Therefore, the Bucks will continue to bully opponents as they battle antlers and hoof for home-court advantage. FiveThirtyEight’s projections give the Bucks an impressive 47% probability to make the finals. However, I prefer a sure bet. Thankfully, there is a certainty: Giannis, Khris, and Eric will use their NBA KEG to destroy walls of skepticism and empty more arenas. And perhaps in June, it’ll be Fiserv Forum fans that leave joyously as the Bucks celebrate a long-overdue Eastern Conference championship.

Follow us on Twitter @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight.

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About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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