In another addition to #BucksAfterDark, the Bucks traveled to Sacramento to take on the Kings. The Kings came in playing very well winning 7 of their last 10 games. The Bucks were without the MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in this matchup. Giannis was ruled out just about an hour before tipoff due to knee soreness. Jrue Holiday was able to take over in this matchup, as well as Brook Lopez. Let’s breakdown the action and crown our game MVP in our Bucks vs. Kings recap!
Close First Half As Jrue Holiday Takes Over
The first half was the Jrue Holiday show. Holiday was able to facilitate the offense and score at will during the first 24 minutes of action. After the buzzer sounded to end the second quarter, Holiday ended the half with 21 points on 90% shooting. Holiday wasn’t only huge on the offensive end as he tacked on 3 steals and a block. Contributions from Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis were also huge for the Bucks with 27 points between the two. The Kings did not make it easy in the first half. Sacramento had a few runs to keep the scoring close but the Bucks were able to take a 4 point lead into the half.
Notable Halftime Stats
Jrue Holiday: 21 points/2 rebounds/3 steals
Brook Lopez: 15 points/2 rebounds/2 blocks
Bobby Portis: 12 points/5 rebounds
Donte DiVincenzo: 5 points/6 rebounds/6 assists/2 steals
Bucks Squeak By While Khris Middleton Bounces Back
Although the Bucks held the lead for nearly the entire game, Sacramento did not go away. The Kings were able to shrink a 13 point deficit to crawl their way back in with less than 5 minutes until the final buzzer. Not only did they shrink that deficit, but they were also able to make the Bucks fight for just a 1 point victory. Khris Middleton had 0 points in the first half, but he was able to bounce back in the second half especially late in the 4th quarter. Khris was able to end the game with 16 points, 7 of which came from the free-throw line. It was refreshing to see him get back into the groove even though it was late before he was able to do it. Brook Lopez also went big in the second half adding on 11 points and 2 more assists. It was not a pretty end to the game, but the Bucks found a way.
Notable Final Stats
Jrue Holiday: 33 points/11 assists/7 rebounds/1 block/3 steals
Brook Lopez: 26 points/4 rebounds/2 blocks/1 steal
Bobby Portis: 18 points/6 rebounds/1 assist
Donte DiVincenzo: 12 points/14 rebounds (career-high)/7 assists
Khris Middleton: 16 points/3 rebounds/5 assists/2 steals
Pat Connaughton: 9 points/6 rebounds/2 assists/3 clutch free throws
We can not name just one game MVP tonight, so the co-MVPs are Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez. Lopez continues his impressive performances following the All-Star Break while Jrue Holiday took over in the first half and late in the 4th quarter. Having Lopez step up in a game without Giannis is exactly what Milwaukee needed to make it past the Kings. We can expect even more great performances from Brook going forward once the MVP is back on the court.
Although it wasn’t a pretty game, the Bucks were able to fight for the victory. When Giannis is out, the Bucks are faced with a true test, and Milwaukee passed their test once again tonight. This team is equipped to make some noise. The Bucks will now shift their attention towards Golden State on Tuesday in the final #BucksAfterDark game of the Western Conference road trip. Let’s keep the foot on the gas.
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