Giannis Antetokounmpo goes off for 41 as the Bucks dominate Brooklyn
As the Milwaukee Bucks have slipped in the standings, so too has the hype that’s surrounded Giannis Antetokounmpo this season. Losing head coach Jason Kidd less than a week ago hurt, but taking eight days off and missing games to manage chronic knee pain made a bleak situation even dimmer for the Greek Freak.
Although firing Kidd took much of the league by surprise, the Bucks roster responded well to the change and churned out a win in their first game with interim head coach Joe Prunty in charge.
The All-Star forward was very public with his discontent regarding the coaching change midseason, but when he returned to the lineup on Friday night, it was business as usual. Giannis poured in 41 points and added 13 rebounds as he led the way for the Milwaukee Bucks in their 116-91 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets.
Not known for his range, Antetokounmpo stunned everyone with his perfect 3 for 3 shooting from beyond the arc. And while his free-throw shooting has improved drastically since he entered the league, his 10 for 11 shooting from the line was well above his season average of 76 percent.
There wasn’t much the Greek Freak couldn’t do on the floor. Not only did he rack up an impressive double-double, he led his team in every major statistical category with the exception of minutes played.
Khris Middleton continued to fire on all cylinders with his ninth 19 plus point performance in his last 12 games. The Bucks star has flown under the radar this season, but had Milwaukee been higher in the standings during the All-Star voting period, it’s likely the NBA would’ve found room for the somewhat positionless scorer and facilitator.
When they’re at their best, the Milwaukee Bucks are an incredibly versatile and dangerous two-way team. However, more games than not, they find trouble consistently putting the pieces together to make their lineups work.
With the reintroduction of Jabari Parker into the mix after his lengthy recovery from yet another torn ACL, the Bucks could soon be adding another potent scoring option to their already adept attack. On the other hand, they could very well be adding more confusion to their already puzzling predicament.
Parker fit in seamlessly next to Giannis as the second fiddle last season before he made his premature exit due to injury. Milwaukee wasn’t always good when the two young stars led the way, but they were always entertaining. Here’s to hoping the Bucks can figure out how to balance the two.
If they manage to crack the code, they’ll be one tough cookie for teams to swallow. If not, well at least they’ll be fun to watch.