Halfway through the first quarter, the ten starters have all scored and Denver has a very narrow lead (14-12). The rest of the quarter is just as pleasant and balanced, and we remember several things: the Bucks dominate under the panels (18 points in the racket), which is logical when we have Giannis Antetokounmpo in his ranks, the Nuggets are already skillful from afar (6/14), and especially Nikola Jokic is already monumental after 12 minutes (6 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals!).
At the start of the second quarter, the Nuggets lead by 3 small points and stabilize this lead for several minutes thanks to the contribution of their bench, Bones Hyland, Bryn Forbes and JaMychal Green in the lead.
After 6 minutes in this second act, Giannis is already at 14 points and compensates for the lack of accuracy of the Bucks, guilty of 9 loss of balls. The Nuggets make a first break and go to +10 (52-42) after Aaron Gordon plants two consecutive award-winning shots. The Bucks spend the rest of the quarter running behind the score and join the locker room at -8 (65-57). The “Greek Freak” floats with 22 points at 7/10, while the “Joker” blackens the sheet (9 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals).
+22 in the third quarter
Overall struggling in the first half, the Bucks completely crack in the third quarter. The Nuggets catch fire and atomize their defense: 38 points in 12 minutes (16/20), including 10 for Aaron Gordon alone, 17 award-winning shots scored (out of 33 attempts) and a Nikola Jokic one rebound from the triple-double (18 points, 9 rebounds and 15 assists). The Bucks defense lock jumped and the gap increased to +22 (103-81) at the end of the third quarter.
The Bucks are not at the end of their sentence since at the start of the last quarter, the Nuggets go to +26 after two 3-point shots from Austin Rivers. The holders of Denver and Milwaukee only remain on the ground for a few minutes before joining the bench for good and the rest of the meeting is “garbage time”. The substitutes of the two teams end the match, and even in this configuration, the Bucks are crushed in large widths: the final gap is +36 (136-100)!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– 39 assists for Denver! The Nuggets delivered a very, very high quality offensive performance. Nikola Jokic in the lead (15 assists), Mike Malone’s men constantly made the right choices on offense and the Bucks quickly found themselves without a solution.
– A deluge of outside fire. The Nuggets scored 23 3-point shots (on 43 attempts, or 53.5% success). Combined with the 39 assists, that Nuggets barrage of outside shots resulted in a whopping 136 points scored at the final buzzer. This is the 7th time in a row that Denver has exceeded 110 points, the longest active streak in the league.
✅ Nikola Jokic. The reigning MVP disgusted the Bucks: in just 28 minutes, he compiled 18 points, 9 rebounds, 15 assists and 3 steals. All while only missing two shots (7/9)! The Serb is exceptional this season and appears to be a particularly credible candidate for his own succession.
✅ Nuggets point guards. 18 points and 7 assists at 7/8 on shots for Monte Morris, 13 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists at 4/9 on shots for his understudy, rookie Bones Hyland. The two leaders shone, both by their skill behind the arc and by the ability to find easy solutions near the basket.
✅ Aaron Gordon. The power forward was the Nuggets’ leading scorer with 24 points at 10/17, including a 4/8 from 3-point range. Often forgotten in the “corners”, he took advantage of the fact that Nikola Jokic monopolized the attention of the Bucks defense to punish behind the arc.
✅ Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks played very poorly but the Greek still survived in the collective sinking of his squad: 29 points and 9 rebounds in 30 minutes. A match that would almost leave you perplexed as the “Greek Freak” trivializes the exceptional this season.
⛔️ The Bucks Offense: 10/30 at 3-points, 15 loss of balls and “only” 23 assists. The Bucks showed a very sad face in attack, like a Khris Middleton who could not do better than 9 points at 4/8. It was a night out for the Wisconsin squad, falling to a defensively consistent and offensively possessed Denver team.
Milwaukee (31-21) : reception of the Wizards on Tuesday
Denver (28-21) : trip to Minneapolis on Tuesday