The NBA’s 75th season kicked off with a bang as the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets 104 – 127. Here are three takeaways from tonight’s game.
Jordan Nwora is a Legitimate Threat
Jordan Nwora proved he’s a legitimate threat off the bench in his first game significant game in the rotation. Nwora finished the game with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. Although the numbers don’t jump out at you, his play was nothing short of impressive. Although Nwora is known as a shooter, he showed his defensive prowess tonight. Nwora chased down rebounds, stripped the ball, and even blocked Kevin Durant.
With the number of injuries on the Bucks’ bench, Bucks fans should expect Nwora to continue to grow and shine in his new role.
Giannis Continues to Improve
Giannis Antetokounmpo always returns from an off season with new tricks. Although fans taunted him for his shooting last year, Giannis kept shooting the ball. Tonight, Antetokounmpo’s free throws and jump shots looked much better as he completed 77.8% (7-9) of his free throws and went 1-4 beyond the 3 point line. If Giannis continues to improve his shooting, the rest of the League will have an even more difficult time stopping him.
Milwaukee Defense Looks Stout
Although Milwaukee’s defense seemed to take a step back last season, it returned to form tonight. Despite the fact that Jrue Holiday exited the game close to half time with a heel contusion, the defense remained stout. Collectively, the Bucks finished the game with 9 blocks, 8 steals, and forced 12 turnovers. Notable contributors included Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jordan Nwora.
Despite how the Nets regularly closed the gap on the scoreboard, the Bucks did an excellent job of containing James Harden and Kevin Durant. The Bucks also looked better on their defensive switching. Overall, it was a dominant performance by the former #1 ranked defense in the NBA.
If anyone had concerns over a “championship hangover”, the Bucks’ performance tonight should put them to rest. It’s certainly worth mentioning the Bucks completed this dominant win with several significant bench players (including Bobby Portis) out. Although the Bucks certainly have room for improvement as the season progresses, it’s always good to set the tone for the season early. If tonight is a sign of things to come, Bucks fans should expect a memorable 2021-22 season.