Milwaukee Bucks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Land of 10,000 Marks

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At 8-0, the Milwaukee dollars are now off to their best start in franchise history, while missing two of their top six players, after knocking down the Minnesota Wolves 115-102 Friday.

A deep quality 5-6 first quarter passing around Timberwolves defensemen propelled Milwaukee to a 34-26 lead after the first quarter. The hot shot continued into the second, but Wolves stayed within spitting distance as the Bucks held a 61-54 halftime advantage. Minnesota’s defense allowed plenty of penetrations and send-outs as the third quarter continued, allowing Milwaukee to take a 95-84 lead going into the fourth. Minnesota kept trying to make runs on the Bucks, but Milwaukee’s timely responses coupled with Wolves’ missing three points made for a fairly drama-free victory. They now have a quick turnaround for a Saturday night game in Milwaukee against OKC.

Three pointers

The T-wolves tracked down Giannis; he was going to make them pay. Chris Finch clearly arrived with a game plan of sending extra defenders in Antetokounmpo’s way whenever he picked up the ball anywhere in the arc. From there, it was easy for him to diagnose the defense and find the open shooter on the perimeter. Bounce passes, cross-court, whatever. It’s no coincidence that the Bucks had one of their best three-point shooting games of the season tonight. He didn’t really manage to score for most of the game, but found some rhythm late in the fourth after racking up points at the free throw line during the game. He scored the 30th triple-double of his career late in the game on a Beauchamp dunk, finishing with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

More MarJon incoming? Beauchamp was quick on the trigger for his first two corner triple attempts. He looked noticeably more comfortable as he had more opportunities to try and find his role on the attacking side. I also thought he did a more than useful job of stopping D’Angelo Russell, who theoretically has enough movement and speed to try and pass the longer Beauchamp. He did well enough for Bud to even put him back up for a second stint in the second quarter. If you were looking for growth, think back to a few games ago when he was in transition with Giannis and fumbled the ball on a pass. In this one, he collected the ball in the fourth and finished by contact. Bud keeping him in the rotation for most of the fourth is a promising sign for Bucks fans hoping to see more of the young prospect this year. He finished with 14 points and five boards, his first double-digit scoring effort of the season, including that fine knockout late in the game.

Jrue Holiday is riding a wave. He couldn’t buy a bucket to start this season, but the Timberwolves’ shoddy defense really had no answer for him in this one. He capitalized several times taking them out of the dribble for box layups, but also made his pulling game work and also hit jumpers to catch and shoot. With a facilitating play from Giannis as Wolves shaded the defenders, Holiday took advantage of the lack of attention given to him. Milwaukee needed someone else to take over with Khris still out, and Holiday has looked as good as ever in recent games. He posted a night of 29 points, eight rebounds, six assists with zero turnovers.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • I really don’t mind Grayson Allen taking the opportunity to get to the basket, especially in the absence of Pat Connaughton and Khris Middleton at the moment. Milwaukee needs all players who can step into the shoes of defense. I don’t even mind he missed a ton of shots there, but all I ask is that he doesn’t jump up and flip it. Shoot or hit it clean before the other team gets it if you’re going to get off your feet. He’s been running at the highest rate since his rookie year, and Wolves had him in the first quarter.
  • You don’t usually get an amazing tat-tat-tat passing streak that ends in a triple catch-and-shoot from Giannis, but we did that tonight with Grayson and Jrue dropping pennies in this triangulation which resulted in a three.
  • Here’s a look at MarJon’s corner shoot.
  • Rudy Gobert shot a three-pointer in this one. He missed short. Greatly. That’s all.
  • Seeing a team like Minnesota, which ranks in the bottom ten in defensive rebounding, against an elite team in that category like Milwaukee just laid bare the difference in the execution of that part of the game. Time and time again, you could see Giannis or other Bucks working to box or outplay and pass the Timberwolves to make sure they grabbed the rebound. Meanwhile, Wolves let almost everyone in and the volleyball returned the ball for another Bucks shot.
  • POLICEMAN! POLICEMAN! Chants erupted and were quite audible in the opposing arena during the third quarter following his technique. He had some really timely buckets to stifle Minnesota’s momentum all night long. He finished with 18 off the bench.

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