BIG GAME. Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 32 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists to lift Milwaukee Bucks’ 144-122 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on December 28, 2023, at the latter’s home court in New York. Giannis Antetokounmpo Facebook/NBA PHOTO
In a clash that promised excitement, the Milwaukee Bucks faced off against a short-handed Brooklyn Nets team, securing a convincing 144-122 win in a game that saw Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton shine as the driving forces behind the Bucks’ success in New York Wednesday night (Thursday morning, December 28, 2023, Philippine time).
Antetokounmpo, showcasing his unparalleled skills, recorded an impressive stat line with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Middleton, his partner in crime, complemented the effort with a stellar performance of 27 points and 10 assists. Together, they orchestrated the Bucks’ dominance and paved the way for a decisive victory.
The Nets, however, approached the game with a strategic decision to rest three starters, including key players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Nic Claxton. With a rotation that featured several rookies and players on two-way contracts, the Nets battled fiercely for three quarters before succumbing to the relentless pressure applied by the Bucks.
Cameron Payne and Malik Beasley played pivotal roles off the bench, each sinking five 3-pointers to contribute to the Bucks’ offensive firepower. Payne tallied 18 points, while Beasley added 17, showcasing the Bucks’ depth and versatility. Bobby Portis chipped in with 14 points as the team shot an impressive 45% from beyond the arc, highlighting their proficiency in long-range shooting.
Rookie Jalen Wilson emerged as a bright spot for the Nets, putting up an impressive performance with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Despite the absence of key players, the Nets’ young roster fought valiantly, with Trendon Watford, Dennis Smith Jr., and rookie Noah Clowney making significant contributions.
The Nets’ decision to rest key players was attributed to a heavy workload, as they returned from a challenging five-game trip to the West before Christmas. Coach Jacque Vaughn emphasized the need to avoid putting players “in harm’s way” by granting them a well-deserved break.
The game saw the Bucks leading by a slim margin until a late surge in the third quarter, where a 9-2 run expanded their lead to 100-92. A subsequent flurry of points early in the fourth quarter propelled the Bucks to a comfortable double-digit advantage, extending it beyond 20 points.
In the final quarter, the Bucks outscored the Nets 44-30, showcasing their ability to close out games decisively. The win marked the Bucks’ resilience as they bounced back from a Christmas Day loss to the Knicks, securing two wins in their three-game holiday stint in New York.