The Milwaukee Bucks continue their hot streak.
They are now 24-13 on the season after a 126-118 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night. Not only did the Bucks win all four matchups against Orlando, this was also their fifth straight win; The second longest run this season for the defending champions. Milwaukee has a 11-5 record for the month of December after their sweep over the Magic. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from that game.
DeMarcus Cousins and Wesley Matthews have been huge signings for Milwaukee.
When the Bucks signed both DeMarcus Cousins and Wesley Matthews, they were signed to non-guaranteed deals. However, these two have been huge assets to the Bucks’ success in the month of December; Off the bench on Thursday, these two lit it up in Orlando.
For Cousins, he performed fantastic in Thursday’s matchup. While the Bucks tried to keep that double digit lead, the third quarter brought a lot of battle as Orlando cut down that lead, tying it up at 74 with five minutes left in the period. Cousins would make a layup that would set the tone for the rest of the quarter for him; He would go on to score 13 points in the third, pushing the Bucks’ lead back to double digits. In his 16 minutes of play, he totaled 15 points with five rebounds. Cousins is starting to show true signs of promise in Milwaukee after initially struggling to get comfortable in his new home court.
Wesley Matthews helped chip in 11 points in 22 minutes of play. He would shoot 3-of-5 on threes, drain two free throws, aid the team with two assists and three rebounds. Given his performance, that non-guaranteed deal will have to turn into something that keeps Matthews in Milwaukee. Both Matthews and Cousins have been a positive add to the Bucks’ lineup as they look to defend that championship title.
“The Big Three” dominated against Orlando, continue to show their all-star status.
The Bucks did get some help from players off the bench in DiVincenzo, Cousins, and Matthews, but it was the trio that really made a statement on Thursday night. Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Giannis Antetokounmpo came together for a combined 80 points. Individually, they all shined and had a strong presence on the court. All three took advantage of the first quarter, scoring seven points apiece to give Milwaukee a 32-24 lead after the first period.
Middleton added 22 points, three rebounds, and six assists. As he continues to get into that rhythm and groove, it’s becoming more and more prevalent that once Middleton is hot, he stays hot. It’s games like these last few that really show why Khris Middleton should be an All-Star representing Milwaukee. Going into the half, Middleton scored 15 points in just 16 minutes of play, helping the Bucks take a 63-51 lead at the break.
Holiday continued his hot streak by contributing 25 points, seven assists, three steals, and five rebounds. When the ball is in his hands, the fire gets hotter. He went an amazing 8-for-11 shooting, and 3-for-4 from the three. It would be silly not to make this man an all-star, he continues to show why he rightfully deserves that spot.
In thirty-one minutes of play, Antetokounmpo contributed 33 points with 13-for-22 shooting and 1-for-4 from deep. A majority of his points came from the fourth quarter; As he headed into that period with 17 points, Antetokounmpo was able to take over and score 16 additional points in the last 12 minutes of the game. On top of the offensive greatness, he was also able to tally 12 rebounds, two steals, and five assists in his minutes.
The Bucks look to start 2022 on a good note as they face the New Orleans Pelicans at home. Catch all the action on Bally Sports Wisconsin starting at 5:30 P.M. CST.