Antetokounmpo commands the Bucks’ reaction to Cleveland

Milwaukee added a new victory this morning at the expense of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bucks prevailed 117-102 in the second visit of the Ohioans to the Fiserv Forum so far this year, consolidating their second position in the Eastern Conference and staying in the wake of the Celtics, from whom they are separated by 1.5 matches. The same distance distances them from the Cavs, who would have stolen their second place if they had won.

The truth is that, as the night started, it seemed likely that it would happen. The locals did not start out focused, much less, something that both Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland took advantage of to take control of the clash and make the superiority of the visitors latent in this section. With 21 and 17 points respectively in the first half, both led Bickerstaff’s men to a 31-47 lead, a moment that set off the alarm bells for some Bucks who were not willing to sell defeat so cheaply.

With 13 points in the second quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo managed to make his team weather the storm and make up the result at halftime (52-63), but it was in the second half when the Greek really changed the fate of the match. Based on aggressive dunks and good assists to his teammates, the power forward commanded a 23-2 run at the start of the third period that turned the situation 180 degrees, placing Budenholzer’s team in front and spreading energy to a pavilion that began to vibrate as if it were a playoff night. This environment made Milwaukee grow and devoured the Cavaliers, ending any hint of equality and shooting the locals towards a comfortable last quarter in which they came to win by 22 points (111-89).

“We had some luck and we were able to score several shots and penetrations to build momentum and maintain it,” said Giannis, who also wanted to share the credits. “I think it all started with the good defense of our point guards in the pick & roll and with Brook Lopez being able to punt every shot ».

The Greek finished the match with 38 points in 30 minutes after converting 13 of his 20 field goals, and was even able to remove the thorn from free throws with a good 10/14. With this meeting, Antetokounmpo has managed to link three consecutive games scoring at least 35 points for the second time in his career, and rounded off his night capturing 9 rebounds and distributing 6 assists.

Jevon Carter, with 18 points, was second in scoring, and with his 5/6 on 3-pointers and his 2 steals, he continued to accumulate ballots to retain a place in the starting five once Khris Middleton returns. Bobby Portis, for his part, was third with 14 points.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, sank in a second half in which they found themselves greatly outmatched, and in which not even Mitchell or Garland could threaten to react. After their great start to the game, both finished with 29 and 20 points respectively, and they were not able to respond to a basketball that the former Jazz player considers practically worthy of the postseason.

“They’ve raised their level of play to a level we haven’t seen or experienced yet,” he said. «It has been playoff basketball. We have to understand that when they increase the physical level like this, we need to spin finer and be more precise.

(Cover photo: John Fisher/Getty Images)



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