Bucks

Bucks Get Coal for Christmas But Finish Week on Strong Note

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The NBA took center stage on Christmas Day as always in the sports world, with a quintet of games for this year’s slate. The second of those was a match-up from the City of Brotherly Love as the Bucks took on the 76ers. One team would find Christmas joy, while the other would find a loss under their tree. That would not be the only game on the docket, however, so how did the Bucks traverse their way through a holiday week?

 

12/25: @ Philadelphia

Result: 121-109 L

Well, this was unexpected. Do not get me wrong, this is nothing against the 76ers, as they are one of the best teams in the NBA, let alone the Eastern Conference, and Philadelphia is a tough place to play. However, the math was completely out of whack in this contest, as while Milwaukee out-shot Philly from the field, the Sixers shot an absurd 47.7% from downtown for the game, well beyond their season average while going 21-44. The Bucks, conversely, made just 13 three-pointers in a game that was as far out of reach as 29 at one point, but one they would rebound to, at the very least, make it respectable with a dozen point final result. Not too much to say about this one, as Milwaukee’s fifth loss was perhaps their biggest clunker.

Top performers

Khris Middleton: 31p/8r/4a/1s, 5/9 3P

George Hill: 15p/1r/2a/1b, 6/7 FG, 3/3 3P in 26 minutes off bench

 

12/27: @ Atlanta

Result: 112-86 W

Earlier this season, the Milwaukee Bucks both traveled to Atlanta hosted a Hawks team that, in both games, gave them a good battle. Fighting to an eight-point victory in the ATL and another nine-point win at home, fans were potentially looking for more of the same this time around, especially with Trae Young on a roll and John Collins suiting up for the Hawks against Milwaukee for the first time this season, as well as the Greek Freak sitting out this affair due to back soreness.

That was far from the case, however, as the Bucks would jump out to an early double-digit advantage before a Young injury would effectively seal the game’s outcome, even if in the third quarter. Ersan Ilyasova would shine bright in this one, leading the team in rebounds with Middleton responding in kind by leading in points and assists in yet another easy Milwaukee W.

Top performers

Ersan Ilyasova: 18p/17r/1b, 7/8 FG, 2/2 3P, team-best +37 in 24 minutes

Khris Middleton: 23p/8r/7a, 10/19 FG, 3/6 3P, +34 in 25 minutes

12/28: vs. Orlando

Result: 111-100 W

Speaking of teams it feels like the Bucks have played a million times, here come the Orlando Magic, as they made their way to Milwaukee. This game not only completed the Bucks’ FIFTH road/home back-to-back of the season (and their final one), but also signified the second in a row without Giannis in the lineup, as he sat yet again due to back soreness.

While the Greek Freak did sport a slick turtleneck/suit combo on the sidelines, the Bucks were not playing super slick in the majority of this game, as it was as close as four with 10:53 to go in the fourth quarter before the Bucks turned it on, overall outscoring the Magic by seven in the period, leading by as much as 16 after a George Hill three. After the game, among other things, Giannis campaigned for Hill to win Sixth Man of the Year to the assembled media, according to The Athletic’s Eric Nehm. With his performance in recent times, he very well has earned that consideration.

Top performers

Ersan Ilyasova: 17p/14r/5a/1b, 5/6 3P, +18

George Hill: 17p/5r/3a, 7/11 FG, 3/6 3P in 21 minutes off the bench

 

The Week Ahead

Another three-game set awaits the Bucks this time around, with the seemingly traditional pre New Year’s game against Chicago on Monday in the Windy City. Then, they open up 2020 in Milwaukee against the Timberwolves on Wednesday and then San Antonio on Saturday.

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