April 17, 2024

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Giannis and Lillard ended the match with the Bucks defeating the Timberwolves 112-107

Giannis and Lillard ended the match with the Bucks defeating the Timberwolves 112-107

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Milwaukee Bucks earned their best win of the season late Friday night, knocking off the Western Conference's best team with a 112-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

“It was a great barometer for us,” Brook Lopez said. “We put in a lot of great work before the All-Star break in the games leading up to the game and the wins and losses didn't necessarily reflect that but we had great practices, we learned a lot from each other, we learned a lot.” From the staff and from Doc and you heard it said – it was a training camp atmosphere. We had a great training yesterday and that was it. Obviously you don't need me to tell you that was a great team we just played, the best team in the West. It's a great environment. We played them a few weeks ago and they destroyed us and dominated us. So to come out and play the way we did with the majority of players, that's a great sign.

The Bucks (36-21) held off the Timberwolves (39-18) in a fourth quarter that saw Minnesota cut a 17-point deficit to four with 1 minute, 58 seconds left, but Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard closed the gap. For the bucks.

First, Antetokounmpo pulled down tough offensive rebounds and made 3 of 4 free throws to give the Bucks a chance to breathe at 108-101. Then, after Anthony Edwards hit 3-pointers with 47 and 31 seconds left to cut the Timberwolves' lead to four and three points, respectively, Antetokounmpo beat the duo of Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony by feeding Jae Crowder a bucket.

Lillard then nailed the dagger with a 21-foot backflip to make it 112-107 with 9.2 seconds left.

square score; Bucks 112, Timberwolves 107

“In games like this, in my opinion, you have to give the ball to your best players so they can get going and make something happen,” Antetokounmpo said. “And the Lady had the ball down the stretch, and I had the ball down the stretch, and we got some good shots. The Lady got some good shots. I was able to get to the free throw line. I thought Brock got some great threes at the top of the key.” Jay got the good stuff down there. Lady was able to work, got mid range, got some shots. We got some offensive rebounds. You have to give the ball to the best players who can make something happen, and then everyone has to be ready to shoot .

Lillard added: Many times, two men attacked me, and I would throw the ball to Giannis, and he was able to get down, get tackled, and make the next play. We were just feeding each other and it was either him or me and we didn't have to force him. The way we played was kind of correct passing throughout the game, and when you play like that the players feel comfortable and confident. They hit clean shots, they were touching the ball and I think that opens the door to a good performance down the stretch.

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Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Lillard scored 21 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Lopez scored 16 points, and Malik Beasley and Bobby Portis each scored 14 points.

“It was a good win, you know?” Antetokounmpo said. “After the break is over, we've got 26 games left, and to be able to start like that against a team that I think is probably one of the best teams in the West, the best defense in the league, very, very talented, it's playing hard and being able to close down, make shots, match their energy, And executing down the stretch, it's a pretty good start. We have another game against Philly (on Sunday) and hopefully we can go out there and play good basketball and get that win. But at the end of the day, it's a good way to set the tone. That's exactly what we talked about “It was about him before the break, which is that we should come and not talk about him, but talk about him. I'm glad we did that today.”

Edwards led Minnesota with 28, while Towns scored 22 and had 14 rebounds. Rudy Gobert had 19 rebounds and 12 points in the loss.

Malik Beasley leads a key third quarter for the Bucks

It was no surprise that Doc Rivers drew up a play to give Beasley the first shot of the second half — a clean 3-pointer — after the shooting guard went the first half without a shot. He worked on defense, committing two steals and three fouls while defending Edwards, the Timberwolves' star, for most of the half, but the Bucks also hit just five 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes.

So, even though Paisley's first attempt failed, it was clear the team wanted – and needed – to get some extra attacking going.

It worked, as Beasley went 5 for 11 points in the third quarter, including four 3-pointers, to score 14 points. He also scored another goal as the Bucks beat the Timberwolves 36-13 to turn a six-point halftime deficit into an 87-70 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“There are players you can tell if the ball is moving or not,” Rivers said. “Malik didn't have any attempts in the first half.” “He ended up with 12. I told him he probably should have only scored 10 because two of them were terrible but that's what got everyone going. Then once you get that, Dame and Giannis are now on the open floor.

The Bucks needed every bit of that advantage, too, as the Timberwolves came close to scoring in the fourth quarter.

“I didn't really try to find him,” Lillard said of Beasley. “A lot of times when you're playing the right way, the ball goes where it's supposed to go, and I think we just started playing the right way. We were attacking the paint knowing a crowd was going to be there. They have good size and length and we were getting the ball out and in the first half we didn't With additional scrolling.

Did you notice?

The Bucks opened the game and the third quarter on a 7-0 run, largely based on the team's stifling, connected defense. Brook Lopez redirected a high shot attempt from Gobert and blocked a shot on the sequence, while the team created great looks from behind the three-point line to highlight Antetokounmpo's baskets. It was a short stretch of time, but the team clearly wanted to set the tone coming out of the blocks against the best team in the West.

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“We started with a lot of energy,” Antetokounmpo said of the third quarter specifically. “We were driving the ball. 'Beas got an open three. Then he drove and kicked and someone else got an open three. I was able to, you know, get into the paint. Then we had a lot of energy defensively and got so many deflections that we were able to run “We set the tone. They took the first timeout. That's what we're trying to be.”

Five numbers

2 Antetokounmpo ranks in franchise history in terms of offensive rebounds, passing Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief with his second offensive rebound of the night in Memphis. Antetokounmpo (1,397) now trails only Marquis Johnson (1,468) for first place in the franchise record book.

5 He missed shots and assists for Lillard in the first quarter. He went 0-for-5 from the field but his five assists led to 13 points for the Bucks. That helped Milwaukee take a 31-27 lead after the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Bucks, they also went 0-for-5 from behind the three-point line in the second quarter, which helped the Timberwolves flip the scoreboard to take a 57-51 lead. It leads to a break.

6 Lopez, who scored his second goal in as many games at 2:01 of the first quarter, had two technical fouls this season. This came immediately after his second personal foul. Lopez, who started the game 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point line, was then forced to sit out with early foul trouble. Bucks players have been called for 40 technical fouls this season.

10 Bucks games will be broadcast locally on CBS-58 and WMLW during the remainder of the season. Friday's game was the first to be broadcast live in Milwaukee.

13 Points allowed by the Bucks in the third quarter, the lowest total given up in any quarter this season. Their previous best was allowing just 14 to Portland in the fourth quarter on November 26.

Rivers: Then defensively, in the third quarter, (13) points whatever it is, that's unbelievable. Then we go all the way down to four stops in a row, that's what we have to become. The third quarter is only as good as you're going to play defense. But at the end of the game, you have to be able to rely on your defense throughout the games and our guys are starting to believe in that. That was great.

Patrick Beverley: I think the head of the snake in Giannis, I think once we saw Giannis kind of catch and defend and challenge shots, obviously we know the rim protection that we have in Brook Lopez, but after you see a guy like Giannis pick up and catch kind of enhances the defense, and I think everyone Follow his example.

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Danilo Gallinari makes his debut with the Bucks

New Bucks big man Danilo Gallinari made his debut 10 minutes into the game against Minnesota after Lopez picked up his second foul, but he only played five minutes. The 35-year-old signed on Wednesday night and last played on February 7 as a member of the Detroit Pistons.

He was waived on February 8 to sign with a contender, and Gallinari said he joined the Bucks because of his familiarity with Rivers (both were in Los Angeles from 2017-19). Although Gallinari believes he can play more than the 15 minutes per game that he averaged at Washington and Detroit, he said he is willing to accept any role to achieve his first NBA title.

“I can help in different ways and I'm just here to help,” he said Thursday. “Whatever needs to be done, whatever He asks of me, I will do.”

Part of that is giving River some interesting lineup combinations.

“The other lineup that I think is interesting that we didn't use — we might use it tonight — we did that a little bit, maybe, the Miami game or one of the games where we had a lot of success with Bobby, Giannis and Brock.” The Bucks coach said before the game. “Now with Gal, this is something we can go for. This can be effective for us as well.”

Unfortunately, Gallinari was called for two quick fouls after the start of the second quarter. He was 0-for-1 from the floor and had a rebound and a steal in five minutes. He did not play in the second half.

When will Kris Middleton play?

The three-time All-Star suffered a sprained ankle against Phoenix on Feb. 6 and missed the final five games before the All-Star break. He did not practice Thursday in Minneapolis and Rivers said Middleton will be out tonight against the Timberwolves and will “likely” be out for Sunday's road game against the Philadelphia 76ers. But Middleton took a walk on Thursday and worked soft pitches the final two days — which was enough for Rivers to say whether Middleton's series could go.

How to watch: Friday's Milwaukee Bucks vs. Timberwolves game will be broadcast in unusual locations

The Bucks return home to play the Charlotte Hornets on February 27, exactly three weeks after the injury.

Before the Bucks faced the Timberwolves, Rivers acknowledged the kind of loss Middleton took — especially because he said “no one” on the team outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard can replicate the shot Middleton brings.

“There is no one who can do what Kharis does but Kharis,” Rivers said. “We already have Dem, we have Giannis, we have a bunch of guys that can catch and shoot. Malik (Beasley) is a great pick-and-shoot player. Bobby (Portis) knocks them down. Brook (Lopez) obviously does that. (Gallinari) can “He did that. Gal could be a guy who can create chances with elbows and so on. He's a good passer. But we're just; that's an empty space. You don't try and fill it because no one in our team can do that.”