Game 8: Bucks 106 – Pelicans 112

After their 3-game win streak was snapped by the Mavericks, the Bucks look to start a new streak tonight against the Pelicans.

The Bucks starting lineup was:

Matthew Dellavedova

Tony Snell

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Jabari Parker

Miles Plumlee

The Pelicans’ starters were:

Tim Frazier

E’Twaun Moore

Dante Cunningham

Anthony Davis

Terrence Jones

Delly started off the game with a converted and-one 14 seconds in as the Bucks got off to a solid start, scoring the first 5 points in the first minute. The Pelicans tied it up shortly after, though, and then both teams traded baskets for a little bit. By midway through the quarter, the Bucks had built a slight 13-12 lead carried by Jabari Parker’s 5 points (as Tim Frazier’s 6 points led the Pelicans early on). It stayed close for the rest of the quarter with the Bucks holding a slim lead that they couldn’t quite build on most of the time. This was the story at the end of the first quarter, as the Bucks found themselves with a 27-26 lead and Jabari Parker found himself with 11 points and 4 rebounds (Anthony Davis only had 7 points and 2 rebounds, just saying).

Omer Asik started the second quarter with a converted and-one of his own to give the Pelicans the lead. New Orleans kept making shots (including consecutive 3s) after that but the Bucks were able to keep responding (including some exciting buckets from Giannis and Rashad Vaughn, along with 9 second-quarter points from Michael Beasley), and the teams stayed close for a while, as they were tied 42-42 midway through the second. The rest of the half stayed close as both teams shot very well in the second quarter, and even though the Bucks shot better than the Pelicans, New Orleans’s 3-point shooting kept them right in there. From a late 52-52 tie, the Pelicans were able to put together a quick 7-0 flurry (part of a 9-2 run) in the last two minutes of the half that gave them a 61-54 lead.

Anthony Davis kicked off the scoring in the third quarter with a midrange jumper to extend the lead, and then an E’Twaun Moore 3-pointer put them up by double digits, prompting an early Milwaukee timeout. Giannis responded out of the timeout with a thunderous dunk, but the Pelicans could not be shaken as they maintained their double-digit lead, 77-66, through the midway point of the third quarter. Jabari made a 3-pointer in response and the Bucks were soon only down 5, but the Pelicans killed that rally with a 3 of their own from E’Twaun Moore. Though the Bucks threatened to erase the lead a few times, the Pelicans went into the final quarter with an 88-81 advantage (and it was only that close thanks to a last-second Rashad Vaugh jumper).

Giannis kicked off the final quarter with a basket in the first 10 seconds to bring the Bucks within 5, but the Pelicans were able to respond, keep making baskets and hold onto their lead (even when it temporarily shrunk to 3) for a 99-91 lead midway through the final quarter. Unfortunately, Anthony Davis converted a big and-one just after the midway point and the Pelicans looked like they’d cruise the rest of the way… but Jabari Parker just kept scoring at will and kept the Bucks in contention almost all by himself. With 2 minutes left, the Bucks were only down 104-100, and it seemed like just about anybody’s game. It came down to 108-105 Pelicans with 24 seconds left and the Bucks in possession of the ball. Delly was fouled and split his free throws, and from there Anthony Davis iced away the game with 2 free throws to put the game out of reach, 110-106. It ended up right around there with a 112-106 Pelicans win, their first of the season.

Three Big Things

Jabari Parker – Jabari got off to another hot start, hitting 11 points on 5/7 shooting in his first 10 minutes on the court. Seemingly the only one scoring early in the third, Parker ended the game with 33 points on 13/26 shooting (3/6 from distance) and 9 rebounds. Jabari’s shot inspired confidence no matter where he pulled up from nor when in the game he went for a shot. This man is the face of offensive consistency, and if he can give the Bucks 20 efficient points every night they should be just fine. If he can give them 30+ he can single-handedly win them a game, as he very nearly showed tonight.

E’Twaun Moore and Tim Frazier – As I’ve said many times, Anthony Davis is going to get his. He did (32 points),  but the reason this game was as close as it was is because the Bucks let E’Twaun Moore and Tim Frazier go off against them for the second time this season. Moore shot 8/18 from the field for 20 points, including 2/5 from beyond the arc. Frazier shot just 3/8 from the field but scored 15 points to go along with 10 assists and 5 rebounds in a Giannis-esque line. Anthony Davis can’t beat you by himself (as evidenced so far this season), but Anthony Davis plus a few other offensive outbursts certainly can.

Turnovers and 3-Point Shooting – At halftime, the Bucks were pretty clearly outshooting the Pelicans 50% to 42% from the field. How do you do this and still find yourself down 7 after 24 minutes? Well, the Bucks had 8 turnovers to New Orleans’s 3, and the Pelicans outshot the Bucks 40% to 29% from beyond the arc. Even if you outshoot your opponent, giving them more possessions through turnovers and allowing them to make up deficits or build up leads by piling up 3s will kill you every time. Luckily, by the end of the game the Bucks were almost matching the Pelicans from distance (33% to 36%) and they took care of the ball much better (finishing with just 11 turnovers to New Orleans’s 10), and the scoreboard showed it, despite the Bucks ultimately losing.

Plus/Minus Hero

Michael Beasley – At the end of the first half and at the end of the third quarter, Beasley was the only Milwaukee Buck with a positive plus/minus rating. He ended up not being the only Buck in the positive side of things, but he was still the plus/minus hero tonight with a +6 overall. Beasley finished with 9 points (all in the second quarter), 2 assists and 4 rebounds in 12 very efficient minutes of basketball, and he is shaping up to be an excellent scoring option for the Bucks off the bench this season.

Well, it was another devastating loss to another winless team for the Bucks, but the Pelicans are probably a better team than their 0-8 record coming into the game suggested. The Bucks fall to .500 for the first time since they beat the Pelicans a few days ago. Tune in on Saturday night at 7:30 PM CT as the Bucks take on the Grizzlies and try to get back above .500 again!

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