The Bucks’ win over the Grizzlies shows why they’re still the must-beat team in the Eastern Conference

MILWAUKEE – At the last minute of the first quarter on Wednesday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo Drive to the basket and lose control of the ball on the way up. Most players could manage in that situation, but Giannis somehow hit the ball back and into the basket – an impressive finish, though not particularly memorable by his standards. However, it is remarkable that it has given Shove 32-30 lead, and proved to be the winner of the basket.

The Bucks never followed again, and generally won 126-114 against the heat Memphis Grizzlies. Although Ja Morant and Co. were able to make things interesting by finishing late, the Bucks led by double digits for most of the game, and their explosive 12-3 finish put things on hold. convincing way.

After a rough couple of weeks for the Bucks – 3-6 in the past nine games – Wednesday night’s win was a reminder of why, despite sitting in fourth place, they are still the team to beat. defeated in the Eastern Conference.

Bucks Keep Crushing Great Teams

On New Year’s Day, the Bucks won by 23 points first New Orleans Pelicans to improve to the best 25-13 of the season. Since then, they are only 3-6, including an amazing loss for the lowly Detroit Pistons. A cold streak sent them down to fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

It goes without saying that no one on the Bucks is thrilled with such poor form. In particular, they had to scratch their heads because they could not continuously have 48 minutes of good basketball. But things aren’t quite as bad as a 3-6 might indicate. First, all those losses are a number.

As for those three wins? Well, they’ve all gone up against other great teams, and they all have dominant styles at the border. They beat brooklyn network by 12, Golden Empire Warriors by 19 and the Grizzlies by 12. Those are three of the top seven teams in the league, and they lead by at least 18 points in each game and lead by a total of five minutes and nine seconds.

“We show these games,” Giannis said after the win over the Warriors. “Maybe it’s the energy of the crowd, like the excitement around the game. But at the end of the day we have to realize we’re a huge target right now. Everyone wants to beat. champions.”

“I don’t know why we play so well in the big games,” continued Giannis. “It’s good, but at the end of the day, we have to continue to build good habits to move forward. Big games with great excitement or even games where nobody watches, nobody cares. We must continue to build good habits so that we can be good in May and June.”

The fact that the Bucks tend to be a little less cheerful in those less meaningful games is not a good habit and they will need to break it to improve their knockout seeding. But when the lights came on, the Bucks were ready to go and continue to prove that the road to the title runs through Milwaukee.

Jrue Holiday is back, and so are the three adults

This season did not go as planned for the Jrue Holiday. He left the team’s opening night win over the Nets with a bruised heel, then an ankle injury a few nights later against San Antonio Spurs, which sidelined him for five games. Then, just as he began to struggle in December and early January, he briefly participated in the league’s health and safety protocols due to a failed COVID-19 test. results and also another ankle problem.

His most recent stint spanned six games, and all say he missed 13 of the Bucks’ 46 games this season. However, he was back in action against the Grizzlies, and that’s great news for the Bucks – even if he looked a bit tired and finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. created in 2/8 shots in 22 minutes off the bench.

The numbers may not be huge, but his impact is clear. He supported Giannis on a crucial basket in the last minutes and was even defending Jaren Jackson Jr. sometimes stress relief.

“It feels great,” Giannis said. “I’m glad he’s back, I’m glad he’s getting on with me. He’s going to help us move forward, defend and attack, play, make big decisions in the game. It’s been a long time. That leader leads us in the timeouts, before the game and after the game. It’s great that he’s back.”

With Holiday in the lineup, Giannis and Kris Middleton also healthy, the three adults of the Bucks are once again back together. Due to various injuries and COVID-19 related absences, that trio played only 20 games together. In those games, the Bucks are 17-3 and they have a net rating of 9.1 plus with their stars on the floor together.

Giannis solves all problems

After a double-digit lead for nearly the entire game, the Grizzlies produced a surge late Wednesday, coming within three points with 2:32 to play. They simply didn’t give up, and against some teams, they might even have won the game. However, not against the Bucks. Specifically, not confronting Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In the midst of another great game, Giannis took over from that point, delivering three straight buckets to slam the door. He throws down a powerful dunk in the semi-transition, drops in a nifty little hook in the lane, and lands an unstoppable runway on the baseline.

“The skill, the step on the basic lane, it’s a classy, ​​high-time hit,” said Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. “In the end, I think he and Khris played a roll and roll and got the defense to move a little bit. He got that in a good position, and then in the transition he got it. out and he’s a force. Those are the kind of plays that we need.”

Giannis finished with 33 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, and proved once again that upon all other setbacks, the Bucks can turn to him. More often than not, he gets the job done, which is why he’s once again in the MVP discussion and has a real chance of becoming the 9th player to win that award three times. time. The Bucks’ win over the Grizzlies shows why they’re still the must-beat team in the Eastern Conference

Charles Jones

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