The Milwaukee Bucks concluded their three-game, five-day road trip in New York with a winning record after defeating the Brooklyn Nets 144-122 Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
The Bucks (23-8) split two games with the Knicks on December 23 and 25, then faced a short-handed Nets team (15-16). Milwaukee finishes the road trip at Cleveland on Friday.
The score of the box:Bucks 144, Nets 122
Brooklyn played reserve and two-way players for most of the game and hung with Milwaukee’s starters for three quarters, as the Bucks led 100-92 after three quarters. But the Bucks scored 44 points in the fourth quarter to finally put the game away.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led six Bucks in double figures with 32 points as the team tied a season high with 23 three-pointers. Brooklyn had 12 players in action, although three starters only played the first quarter on the second night of a row. Jalen Wilson led the Nets with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo plays through calf injury
Antetokounmpo hasn’t been 100% lately, as he played last week with a right midfoot strain, then on Tuesday he was listed as questionable with dealing with a right calf injury. This injury is one that the 29-year-old had to deal with earlier in the season, and is actually the reason why he missed his only game so far this season on November 15.
But Antetokounmpo felt good enough to face the Nets after his pregame warmup, scoring the 20th direct game he played. This is the longest streak of consecutive matches he has played since his 31st consecutive appearance in the 2020-21 Championship season.
Antetokounmpo was also incredibly efficient in his 30 minutes of play. He was 10 of 12 from the field and 12 of 17 from the free throw line to score 32 points. He also pulled down 10 rebounds, distributed eight assists and blocked two shots.
Bucks hire Trevor Gleeson as assistant coach
During his pregame availability at the Barclays Center, Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin announced that he has hired Trevor Gleeson to join the coaching staff. The Bucks had been without an assistant since the unexpected resignation of Terry Stotts just before the start of the regular season.
Gleeson, 55, had worked in Toronto with Griffin under Raptors head coach Nick Nurse for the past two seasons. After Nurse’s firing, Gleeson was free to seek other coaching jobs. He had returned to Australia while seeking a new coaching position. Before arriving in the NBA, Gleeson won five National Basketball League championships (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) as head coach of the Perth Wildcats in Australia. After guiding Perth to their sixth Finals appearance, he moved on to the NBA. He is a two-time NBL Coach of the Year.
Gleeson has been coaching in some capacity since 1990, including a brief stint in the United States with the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and in South Korea.
Griffin said during his pre-match press conference that although he communicated with Gleeson (and Gleeson watched the Bucks game), he will come in and just be with the team to get to know them at first.
“He’s someone I trust,” Griffin said. “He’s got a really good mentality for the game. But right now, I think we’ll just get him comfortable and let him get acclimated to our team. But he’s strong on both sides of the ball. He’ll Definitely start being a part of the team scouts as he gets more comfortable.
Khris Middleton reaches 12,000 points
Early in the season, Khris Middleton passed Michael Redd to become the Bucks’ fifth all-time scorer. He then quickly passed Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief for fourth place. And now, Middleton has reached the plateau of 12,000 points for his career (12,005), including 11,840 during his tenure with the Bucks. He scored 165 points in his rookie season with Detroit in 2012-13.
Middleton should pass Glenn Robinson for third place on the Bucks’ all-time scoring list in the coming weeks, as he only needs 171 more points. Robinson scored 12,010 points in eight years (1994-2002). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is second with 14,211 points. Antetokounmpo tops the list with 17,205.
Against Brooklyn, Middleton scored a season-high 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting and dished out a season-high 10 assists.
Since Dec. 7, when Middleton’s workload increased to 30 minutes per game, he has found a rhythm. He entered the Brooklyn game shooting 50% from the floor, 40.5% from behind the three-point line and 92.9% from the free throw line – thresholds that mark some of the best shooters in the league (only nine players have done so in one season).
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17 Points for Malik Beasley against the Nets. He was held scoreless on just two shots against the Knicks on Monday, which hadn’t happened since November 11. One of the best three-point shooters in the league to this point in the season, Beasley was 5 of 8 from behind. the arc against Brooklyn.
36 Points on Bucks turnovers (25) and offensive rebounds (11) for the Nets, which helped them stay in the game despite missing many of their top rotation players.
40 Assists for the Bucks, a season high.
64 Regular season games in which Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. He last did so against New York on Christmas Day, giving him one more point than LeBron James for most in NBA history. Hakeem Olajuwon is third with 41. He narrowly missed adding another against the Nets as he recorded no steals.
600 Three career points for Pat Connaughton after scoring one against the Nets. Connaughton recorded 504 as a member of the Bucks, which is No. 8 all-time. He is behind Antetokounmpo by one point for No. 7. Ersan İlyasova is No. 6 in the franchise with 536 threes made.
The Nets were shorthanded after handing a record loss to the Pistons
Brooklyn beat Detroit on the road Tuesday night to send the Pistons to an NBA-record 27.th back-to-back losses, and on Wednesday the Nets saw a handful of players sit out against the Bucks. They were missing starters Cam Johnson (managing right knee sprain), Nic Claxton (managing left ankle sprain) and Spencer Dinwiddie (rest). They were also without first reserve Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness).
Other key players out for Brooklyn were Lonnie Walker IV (left hamstring strain) and Ben Simmons, out (left lower back nerve impingement).
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