Even though the Milwaukee Bucks were having trouble winning games right away with the debut of new coach Doc Rivers, they thought their defence was getting better.
They are now demonstrating results to support that.
On Monday night, the Bucks defeated the Denver Nuggets 112-95, showcasing their better defence behind 36 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks have allowed fewer than 100 points in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Antetokounmpo stated, “Right now, we are trying to kind of help one another defensively and just make it as tough as possible.” “This is defence as a team. No one is capable of doing it alone. As a team, I believe we are currently adopting that mentality.
The Bucks have won two straight by a combined total of 53 points after dropping five of their first six games under Rivers, including a 113-107 loss against Denver in his Milwaukee debut.
Following Milwaukee’s most lopsided win of the season—a 120-84 thumping of the Charlotte Hornets—came this slaughter of the defending NBA champs.
Damian Lillard remarked, “Our entire staff, they’re doing a great job just calling everything out.” They are testing us on several fronts, including our ability to communicate, our physical prowess, and our collective demeanour. We’re looking for who we are. Who would we like to be?
Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets, but he didn´t get nearly enough help on a night when two teammates left with injuries. Aaron Gordon scored 14 and Michael Porter Jr. had 11.
Before missing the second half with shin splints, Denver’s Jamal Murray scored three points in eighteen minutes. Additionally, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope only lasted nine minutes before departing due to right hamstring soreness, which had kept him out of the Nuggets’ previous two games.
For the Bucks, Lillard had eighteen points, and Bobby Portis chipped in with thirteen before being sent off with four minutes left. With 18 rebounds, Antetokounmpo equaled his season high.
It was the Nuggets’ second consecutive loss. They were back in action three nights after ending a three-game winning streak with a 135-106 loss in Sacramento.
“As the head coach, I think it’s my responsibility to make sure I don’t overreact and panic, but I also have to strike a delicate balance between holding them accountable and telling them that our performance in the last two games isn’t good enough,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated. “Before we enter the break, we have the chance to return home and right the ship.”
After falling behind 13-2 in the first 4 and a half minutes, Denver rallied and took the lead 23-21 thanks to a basket by Reggie Jackson with 1:50 remaining in the first quarter.
However, during a nearly seven-minute stretch, the Nuggets managed just one more basket as the Bucks went on a 22-3 run to take a 43-26 lead.
After Antetokounmpo and Lillard were benched due to two early fouls, Milwaukee took the lead by scoring the final seven points of the first quarter. The second quarter saw the Bucks score their first seven points as Antetokounmpo slammed a basket with one hand after receiving a feed from Pat Connaughton.
After Lillard’s pass, Portis scored a one-handed dunk to seal the Bucks’ 22-3 run. Milwaukee was ahead by as much as 22 points in the second quarter and led 60-44 at the half.
In the last minute of the third quarter, another Portis dunk gave Milwaukee a 28-point lead. After that dunk, Portis received the first of his two technical fouls, which led to his dismissal from the game.