The Milwaukee Bucks kicked off their 2023-2024 preseason on Sunday afternoon on Fiserv Forum, welcoming their I-94 rival, the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks came out victorious, skidding by with a 105-102 win in manager Adrian Griffin’s managerial debut with Milwaukee.
The Bucks did not have their main guys of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Damian Lillard take the court in the game. Cam Payne and Chris Livingston were also among names who didn’t appear in the first preseason performance. It was up to the bench to play against a Bulls team that was playing most of their major players.
Bucks depth shines in preseason win
It was MarJon Beauchamp who took the bull by the horns and controlled the court for Milwaukee scoring a game-high 18 points with eight rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Beauchamp wasn’t even in the starting lineup, but once he was on the court, he was able to take charge and deliver clutch free-throw attempts.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo also contributed with 14 points in 21 minutes. Another rookie, Andre Jackson Jr tallied up four points, three assists, four rebounds, one steal, and one block. In just the short amount of time he played, he showed a lot of promising potential to possibly get more playing time as we venture into the season.
Jae Crowder and Malik Beasley, both who started today, also showed up today to play some good basketball. Crowder scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, and Beasley displayed some amazing shooting, scoring 13 on 3-of-7 shooting.
Brook Lopez, who started, played less than 13 minutes in Sunday’s contest, but ended up with 11, nine of those coming from the three-point mark.
Adrian Griffin makes Bucks Head Coach debut
Griffin has more than 15-years of assistant coaching under his belt, some of that coming from Milwaukee, but today he was able to make his debut as the head coach for a team that he previously played for and coached.
He had gotten some prior experience coaching the Toronto Raptors and a little in the Bucks’ summer league, but this was the first time with starters and rotation on his team.
The game was close pretty much the entire run, and with 34.4 seconds left in regulation, both teams tied at 99, Griffin called timeout. The team needed to settle and focus everything on these last 30 seconds of play. It would be silly of me not to mention the play that allowed Drew Timme to pick up an offensive rebound to give the Bucks a 101-99 lead with less than 30 seconds to play.
“They did great execution wise,” Griffin said when asked about the game. “Just trying to be aware of the timeouts I have, make sure I don’t burn them prematurely because I saw the game was kind of going down to the wire…”
Right before the game, second year shooting guard AJ Green and rookie forward Chris Livingston were ruled out. Green is out with a right calf strain and didn’t suit up for the game. Livingston is currently dealing with a right ankle sprain, but was participating in pregame warmups.
“They’re progressing well,” Griffin sad. “Right now they’re just getting their conditioning and hopefully soon we’ll see them back.”
This was the first preseason game that the Bucks have won in a little over two years. But, even without their key guys in, the team is showing a lot of promise and hope that they can make it a successful season no matter who is on the court.
The Bucks will not be back at Fiserv Forum until their exhibition finale against Memphis on Oct. 20. They will now embark on an eight-day road trip to Memphis, Los Angeles and Oklahoma City for three games starting in Memphis on Tuesday.