MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks believed their protection was bettering, at the same time as they struggled to win video games instantly after new coach Doc Rivers’ arrival.
Now they’re producing outcomes to again that up.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 factors, 18 rebounds and 5 assists because the Bucks showcased their improved protection by trouncing the Denver Nuggets 112-95 on Monday evening. For the primary time all season, the Bucks have allowed fewer than 100 factors in back-to-back video games.
“Proper now, we are attempting to type of assist each other defensively and simply make it as robust as doable,” Antetokounmpo stated. “That is workforce protection. No one can do it by himself. Proper now, I really feel like we’re shopping for into that philosophy as a workforce.”
After shedding 5 of their first six video games beneath Rivers — together with a 113-107 defeat at Denver in his debut with Milwaukee — the Bucks have received two straight by a mixed margin of 53 factors.
This blowout of the reigning NBA champions adopted Milwaukee’s most lopsided victory of the season, a 120-84 rout of the Charlotte Hornets.
“Our total workers, they’re doing an ideal job of simply calling all the things out,” Damian Lillard stated. “They’re difficult us in a number of other ways — our communication, how bodily we’re, how we stock ourselves as a bunch. We’re looking for our identification. Who will we wish to be?”
Nikola Jokic had 29 factors, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets, however he didn’t get almost sufficient assistance on an evening when two teammates left with accidents. Aaron Gordon scored 14 and Michael Porter Jr. had 11.
Denver’s Jamal Murray scored three factors in 18 minutes earlier than sitting out the second half on account of shin splints. And, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope performed simply 9 minutes earlier than leaving with tightness in his proper hamstring, a problem that had brought on him to overlook the Nuggets’ final two video games.
Lillard scored 18 factors for the Bucks, and Bobby Portis added 13 earlier than getting ejected with 4:54 remaining. Antetokounmpo’s 18 rebounds matched his season excessive.
The Nuggets misplaced their second in a row. They have been taking part in three nights after a 135-106 loss at Sacramento that snapped a three-game profitable streak.
“I believe for me as a head coach, I’ve acquired to ensure I’m not overreacting and panicking whereas additionally that delicate steadiness of holding (them) accountable and letting them understand how we’re taking part in proper now these final two video games isn’t adequate,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated. “We’ve acquired a chance to go residence and proper the ship earlier than we go into the break.”
Denver fell behind 13-2 within the first 4 1/2 minutes, however clawed again and led 23-21 after Reggie Jackson’s layup with 1:50 left within the first quarter.
However the Nuggets acquired only one extra basket throughout a stretch lasting almost seven minutes because the Bucks went on a 22-3 run to seize a 43-26 benefit.
Milwaukee pulled forward by scoring the final seven factors
of the primary quarter whereas Antetokounmpo and Lillard have been on the bench after choosing up two early fouls. The Bucks then scored the primary seven factors of the second interval as Antetokounmpo opened the interval with a one-handed slam off a move from Pat Connaughton.
The Bucks closed the 22-3 spurt with a Portis one-handed dunk on a move from Lillard. Milwaukee led by as many as 22 within the second quarter and went into halftime up 60-44.
Milwaukee prolonged the result in 28 within the closing minute of the third quarter on one other Portis dunk. That dunk led to the primary of Portis’ two technical fouls, which resulted in his ejection.
Bucks: Host the Miami Warmth on Tuesday.
Nuggets: Host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.