The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the lowly Houston Rockets 123-114 on Friday night. The night was filled with highlight reel dunks, amazing plays, and a franchise record. One such play was eerily similar to the famous Valley-Oop from the Bucks’ title run.
Milwaukee was led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP had 41 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and three steals. Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis had 21 points a piece. Jrue Holiday had 12 points while Pat Connaughton added 16 off the bench.
Those stat lines are fun, but they are just a small part of the fun and unbelievable numbers the Bucks are putting up this season. Find the first editions of this series here:
Giannis Recorded Block #806 in His Career
One of the things that separates Giannis from other stars in the NBA is that he is also a great defensive player. He is, after all, one of just three players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Michael Jordan and Hakeen Olajuwon were the others. Kevin Garnett and David Robinson won both awards in their careers, but in separate seasons.
With his second block tonight, Giannis passed Alton Lister on the Bucks’ all-time blocks list. Lister had 805 blocks in his career with the Bucks. Now, with 806 blocks, Giannis is now the Bucks all-time leader in four categories: blocks, triple-doubles, free throw attempts, and defensive rebounds.
Six Straight Games of 20+ Points for Middleton
Once the subject of endless criticism from Bucks fans on social media, Khris Middleton has become one of the most accomplished players in team history. Earlier this season, Middleton passed Ray Allen and became the team’s all-time leader in three-point shots made. With 21 points against the Rockets, Middleton has recorded 20 or more points in six straight games.
The two-time All-Star is averaging 18.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game this season. Over his last six games, Middleton is averaging 21.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. Still, fans on social media say he looks “off” or “is not playing well lately.” If this is Middleton not playing well, I cannot wait to see what he plays like as the season progresses.
The Milwaukee Bucks currently have a +3.6 point differential. While this may not sound like a huge number, it is tied for the fourth best mark in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors have the best mark in the league, by far, with a differential of +12.9. Utah (+10.5) and Phoenix (+6.3) come in second and third respectively.
The Bucks and Chicago Bulls both lead Eastern Conference teams with +3.6. The Brooklyn Nets are right behind with +3.1. Cleveland, Miami, and Atlanta are the only other teams in the NBA with a differential over +1.5.