The Milwaukee Bucks bounced back nicely on Friday night after being humiliated by the Toronto Raptors in their previous game via a 130-111 blowout. Milwaukee was in dire need of a win, and they secured just that on Friday against the New York Knicks, 110-105.
It was far from a perfect performance from the Bucks, but there’s no denying that it was a step in the right direction for this new-look side.
Damian Lillard Reacts to Major Change He Saw From Milwaukee Bucks
Damian Lillard played a key role for Milwaukee in this one, finishing with a team-high 30 points on 7-of-15 from the field. He also added four triples, four rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block in 36 minutes of action, while also going 12-of-12 from his attempts from the charity stripe.
It wasn’t all about offense for the Bucks, though. One major factor in their win was the adjustments they made on the defensive end. Brook Lopez was able to block eight shots against the Knicks, and this was thanks in large part to head coach Adrian Griffin using the veteran center deeper in the drop.
Dame sounded off on the defensive tweak after the win:
“I noticed a huge difference,” Lillard said of Lopez being back in the drop, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Just his presence in the paint. A lot of the shots that were taken in the paint were contested. I felt his length in the paint more than the previous games because you can tell where he’s comfortable, there’s where he navigates.
“We want to force contested twos, tough twos and tonight, especially (Jalen) Brunson, that’s his game. The in-between, fadeaways, pullups, floaters, so he was able to get it going in that range but I think a lot of teams that have been hurting us have been from three. We’ve been getting sucked in. Brook on the perimeter, guys at the rim sometimes and them throwing it out for threes. I felt like him being in the paint it changed how we defended tonight. I thought it was really helpful.”
The Bucks were in desperate need of a spark on the defensive end amid their struggles early in the season, and Lopez answered the bell for them perfectly against New York.
A lot of credit needs to be given to Coach Griff as well for making the necessary adjustments just when he needed to. Much more of the same will be expected from him moving forward as Milwaukee navigates what is clearly going to be a challenging campaign ahead.
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